According to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest, Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said today that he plans to play for his native Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. He’ll be joined by his teammate Nelson Cruz.
Beltre was limited down the stretch last season due to an abdominal injury, but didn’t require offseason surgery and anticipates playing if he’s healthy.
“It’s too early yet because you go through spring training and an injury can hold you back a little bit,” said Beltre, who hit .300 in the 2006 WBC. “Of course if I don’t feel 100 percent healthy to be in the WBC I’m not going to force it. I’m not going to jeopardize what I’m trying to do here with this team to play the WBC. If everything goes well and I’m healthy I think I’m going to play.”
Cruz played in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, but Beltre, then a member of the Mariners, didn’t participate coming off shoulder and thumb surgeries.
The entire roster for the Dominican Republic hasn’t been announced, but Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes are also expected to be on the squad.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.