Fans of the Detroit Tigers are going to see a slightly different team in the next few weeks as the World Baseball Classic is about to begin.
There are several Detroit Tigers players who will proudly be wearing their home country on their jersey next week.
While many teams have representatives on a WBC roster, the Tigers have the most players on the WBC rosters than any other MLB teams. Fifteen Tigers are on various rosters, with eight of them coming directly from the 40-man team.
Those players are on their way to the respective ballparks to start practicing with their countrymen. Until the WBC is finished or the teams are officially eliminated, fans who attend spring training games will not see Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Bruce Rondon, and Francisco Rodriguez because they will be playing on the Venezuelan team in Mexico.
Team United States
Fans who are in the Miami could catch a few games at Marlins Park to see Ian Kinsler, Michael Fulmer, and Alex Wilson. The other 40-man roster player is Joe Jimenez, who will be pitching for Puerto Rico.
"“The position players that are going, it’s not like they are fighting for spots. The pitchers are a little more of a concern for me, making sure they get the work they need and they’re not overworked in the WBC.”Feb 27, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki (right) is caught sliding into second base by Detroit Tigers shortstop Dixon Machado (left) during the first inning of a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports"
Who to See at 1st and 2nd Base
While this does not decimate the Tigers team for much of spring training, minor league players will mix in more frequently with the remaining starting players. Expect to see Tyler Collins get some time at DH while he is recovering from his strained back muscle. John Hicks, Brett Pill, and Dominic Ficociello will play first base on a regular rotation. Omar Infante, Dixon Machado, Brendan Ryan, and possibly even JaCoby Jones will play second base. These players aren’t Cabrera or Kinsler, but they have all been producing hits, runs, and defensive plays in spring training.
Fulmer is on the WBC USA team, but he is not in the rotation. Technically, he is in the pitching reserves. So is Alex Wilson. So, even if you do get tickets to see the USA team play in Miami, there is no guarantee that those two will even make it to the mound. Even though the early pitches help get players ready for the season, a Fulmer injury in the WBC would be devastating to the Tigers.
More from Detroit Tigers News
- The Detroit Tigers must cut their losses and release Jonathan Schoop
- Detroit Tigers: Garrett Hill’s new role and changed delivery are excellent
- Detroit Tigers: Joe Jiménez has rebounded in 2022
- Detroit Tigers: Is it finally time to move the fences in at Comerica Park?
- Detroit Tigers: Riley Greene continues to impress with his performance
WBC Schedules in Brief
The first WBC games begin in Seoul, South Korea on Monday, March 6. This pool includes teams from Isreal, Korea, Chinese Taipei, and the Netherlands. No Tigers are on those teams. The first game with any Tigers on the roster is in Pool B which begins on Tuesday, March 7 in Tokyo, Japan. Pool B includes Cuba, Japan, China, and Australia. Two Tigers minor league pitchers, Warwick Saupold and Travis Blackley, will represent Australia.
The United States and Venezuela do not face each other in the opening pools. The first USA game is on Friday, March 10 in Miami in Pool C. This pool includes Columbia, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. And, Venezuela faces Puerto Rico on March 10 in Jalisco, Mexico in Pool D. That pool should provide some excitement as those two teams also face Mexico and Italy.
With the quality of players on all teams, there should be some memorable baseball played in the next few weeks. On March 11, I’ll be blogging from the sold-out USA vs Dominican Republic game in Miami.