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World Baseball Classic rosters announced for all countries

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All of the rosters for the World Baseball Classic have been released. They are subject to change, but they can all be read here by clicking on each country’s flag.  The highlights, per MLB’s press release:

Venezuela’s roster currently features 11 All-Stars, including Triple Crown-winning 2012 A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera, 2012 World Series Most Valuable Player presented by Chevrolet Pablo Sandoval, 2010 A.L. Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez and 2012 N.L. All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.  The Dominican Republic’s roster is highlighted by 10 All-Stars, including infielders Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and 2002 A.L. MVP Miguel Tejada.  Also participating is 2006 A.L. MVP Justin Morneau of Canada.

Seven-time All-Star Carlos Beltran and two-time World Series Champion Yadier Molina, both of Team Puerto Rico, will participate in their third World Baseball Classic.  Another third-time participant is Adrian Gonzalez of Team Mexico, which will have All-Star right-hander Yovani Gallardo.  Free agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will represent Chinese Taipei for the first time in the World Baseball Classic, while left-hander Bruce Chen will become the first Major Leaguer to represent China in the event.

So I guess Bruce Chen got his grandparents’ Chinese birth certificate issue figured out.

The WBC begins March 2 and goes through March 19. The pools:

  • Pool A:  Brazil, China, Cuba and Japan, playing at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome
  • Pool B: Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands, playing at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan
  • Pool C: Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela, playing at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Pool D: Canada, Italy, Mexico and the United States, playing at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in ArizonaSalt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona.

The First Round will feature a round-robin format with the top two teams at each venue advancing to one of two Second Round pools. The Second Round, which will be a modified double-elimination format, will be played at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan and Marlins Park in Miami, Florida. The Championship Round at AT&T Park in San Francisco from Sunday, March 17th–Tuesday, March 19th.

Gentlemen, start your international baseball.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.