Pablo Sandoval won’t play in the World Baseball Classic, but Eduardo Rodriguez will give it a go.
The rosters for the preseason international tournament were released Wednesday night, and the Boston Red Sox were well represented. In total, four Red Sox major leaguers will play in the tournament: Rodriguez (Venezuela), Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic), Fernando Abad (Dominican Republic) and Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands).
The biggest surprise might be Rodriguez, whose status was up in the air after he suffered a knee injury prior to the 2016 season and never quite regained the form that made him one of the best prospects in baseball when he broke onto the scene in 2015. Complicating matters even more was Rodriguez tweaking that same knee pitching in winter ball in December.
Rodriguez logged just 107 big league innings in 2016, going 3-7 with a 4.71 ERA. The Red Sox obviously would like to see him return to his 2015 form, and it’s fair to wonder whether he’d be better suited spending more time with the club during spring training instead of pitching relatively high-leverage innings at the WBC.
As for Sandoval, he indicated earlier in the offseason he was open to playing for Venezuela, too. The third baseman even surfaced in photos with fellow countrymen Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve from what appeared to be a workout, but he wasn’t on the final roster released Wednesday. Sandoval did play for his home country during the 2013 tournament.
Both Bogaerts and Ramirez are making return trips to the WBC after participating in the 2013 tournament. Ramirez also represented the Dominican Republic in 2009.
The tournament starts March 6.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images