Six Mets agree to World Baseball Classic

Wright and Martinez could be WBC-bound.

When the 16-nation World Baseball Classic tournament kicks off March 3, it won't be hard for Mets fans to recognize familiar faces.

Six players currently on the Mets' roster have agreed to participate for their home countries: Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico), Carlos Delgado (Puerto Rico), Pedro Martinez (Dominican Republic), Billy Wagner (United States), David Wright (United States) and Victor Zambrano (Venezuela).

Martinez's participation is pending the status of the injured right big toe that cut his season short by two starts; the right-hander told a Dominican Republic newspaper this week that, although he has been able to lift weights and ride a bicycle as part of his rehabilitation, Martinez has still not been able to run.

"[Martinez] desperately wants to play for the Dominican Republic," Players Association head Gene Orza said Monday. "He has agreed to play, health permitting."

Additionally, three players who spent time with the Mets in 2005 have also agreed to participate, with Miguel Cairo (Venezuela), Mike DiFelice (Italy) and Mike Piazza (Italy) on board for the tournament's maiden voyage.

"He just thought … the best role that he could play in doing something good for International Baseball, given this opportunity, was to sign on for the Italian team," Orza said of Piazza. "If he makes the team, I think they will be pretty good."

Slated to run from March 3 – 20, each nation will be allowed to select 30 players, including 13 pitchers and three catchers. Contests will be played using American League rules, with wood bats and a designated hitter.

A player signing on for the event does not necessarily mean he will be selected for his nation's roster, although in the cases of most of the aforementioned, it is considered likely. Rosters for Asian teams (China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan) are expected to be released next week.

Mets third base coach Manny Acta has been selected to manage the Dominican Republic team. The Puerto Rico team will work out at the Tradition Field facilities in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and play exhibition games against the Mets.

WBC PLAYERS WITH METS TIES

Edgardo Alfonzo ..... Venezuela
Carlos Baerga ....... Puerto Rico
Jason Bay ........... Canada
Carlos Beltran ...... Puerto Rico
Rigo Beltran ........ Mexico
Alberto Castillo..... Dominican Republic
Bruce Chen .......... Panama
Miguel Cairo ........ Venezuela
Carlos Delgado ...... Puerto Rico
Mike DiFelice ....... Italy
Karim Garcia ........ Mexico
Luis Garcia ......... Mexico
Justin Huber ........ Australia
Jason Isringhausen .. United States
Al Leiter ........... United States
Pedro Martinez ...... Dominican Republic
Melvin Mora ......... Venezuela
Mike Piazza ......... Italy
Rey Sanchez ......... Puerto Rico
Marco Scutaro ....... Undecided
Billy Wagner ........ United States
Victor Zambrano ..... Venezuela

InsidePitchMagazine.com Recommended Stories