World Baseball Classic Rosters Released

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The rosters for all 16 teams participating in the World Baseball Classic were announced last night. Here is where to go for team-by-team breakdowns. Here are the highlights:

  • There are 25 guys who made the 2016 All-Star team, including Jose Altuve (Venezuela), Nolan Arenado (USA), Xander Bogaerts (Kingdom of the Netherlands), Francisco Lindor (Puerto Rico) and Manny Machado (Dominican Republic). There are 63 players who have, at one time or another, been All-Stars;
  • As far as past award winners go there’s two-time American League Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera (Venezuela), 2012 National League MVP Buster Posey (USA), 2013 NL MVP Andrew McCutchen (USA), 2006 AL MVP Justin Morneau (Canada), 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez (Venezuela), 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colón (Dominican Republic) and 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne (Canada);
  • The Dominican Republic is the defending WBC champ, and they look to be loaded again. Coming back from the 2013 team is Robinson Canó, Santiago Casilla, Nelson Cruz, Samuel Deduno, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Fernando Rodney, Carlos Santana and Edinson Volquez;
  • The Detroit Tigers are the most-represented Major League team on WBC rosters, with 15 players from their organization in the WBC. The Mets (13), Cardinals (11), Indians (11), Mariners (11), Royals (11), Blue Jays (10), Braves (10), Dodgers (10), Phillies (10), Twins (10) and Yankees (10) are next on the list. As far as players who are on their team’s 40-man roster, the Mets lead with nine, followed by the Tigers and Phillies with eight.

The World Baseball Classic gets underway with pool play in four cities around the world on March 6. The final game will be March 22nd in Los Angeles.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.