Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 1/18/13
The World Baseball Classic rosters were announced on Thursday, and as we expected there are a couple of Pirates planning to participate. Team Canada will be of the most interest to Pirate fans. Russell Martin will be the starting catcher, and the Bucs’ #2 prospect Jameson Taillon will probably be in the rotation. Chris Leroux is also on the Canadian pitching staff–he could start or relieve. I will certainly be very interested to see Taillon pitch live, especially against MLB-caliber hitters. I didn’t even know that he was Canadian until now, but apparently he is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S.  A couple of other notable Pirate pitchers representing their countries are Wandy Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) and Jason Grilli (Italy). Wandy will be at or near the top of the Dominican rotation, and Grilli (presumably) will close for the Italians…if this roster can ever get him a lead. Taillon highlights the Bucco minor leaguers playing in the Classic. The others include Ivan De Jesus (Puerto Rico), Stefan Welch (Australia), and Ali Solis (Mexico). De Jesus was part of the Hanrahan trade last month, and Solis was recently claimed off waivers. He will back up Rod Barajas, who is Mexico’s starting catcher. Poor Mexico. The WBC still hasn’t really caught on as a premier event, but I’m looking forward to watching it anyway this March. It provides something different and more interesting than the mundane spring training games, and even though plenty of stars (including Andrew McCutchen) turned down their respective countries, there should still be enough talent to make the tournament competitive and exciting. You can check out all the rosters here. 
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