Cuba selects Robert, Moncada for World Baseball Classic roster

A pair of White Sox players will officially represent Cuba in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Outfielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoan Moncada are among those who received special permission from Major League Baseball to join Cuba’s national team roster in international competition. This comes after Francys Romero’s initial report that the two players had said yes to represent their home country if allowed.

In addition to Moncada and Roberto, the Cuban team will include three players from Triple A rosters: infielder Andy Ibáñez of the Detroit Tigers, righty Miguel Romero of the Oakland Athletics and righty Ronald Bolaños of the Kansas City Royals. Former White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu is also said to have been cleared to compete, but has not publicly indicated his desire to play.

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Cuba reportedly had to get special permission from the US to host MLB players due to sanctions imposed on the country. Under the deal, all stateside professional players accepted to the team will still be barred from coming to Cuba to practice before the World Baseball Classic. Although the Cuban Baseball Federation strongly opposed those leaving to pursue professional baseball careers, a state television program announced about 30 players for the Cuban national team.

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Although both Moncada and Robert played internationally in the Cuban National Series, they will now be able to represent their country on a much larger scale. At the same time, the duo will also look to recover from 2022. up and down campaigns with the White Sox. Robert was hitting .284/.319/.426 with the bat while battling a wrist injury that hampered his performance down the stretch. Moncada also struggled with injuries and his own inconsistency, slashing just .212/.273/.353 in a rather forgettable season.

As for the World Baseball Classic, the White Sox are expected to feature plenty of other names as well. Among them are starting pitcher Lance Lynn and shortstop Tim Anderson, who previously revealed their intentions to play for Team USA. Outfielder Eloy Jimenez and reliever Reynaldo Lopez have also expressed their desire to play for the Dominican Republic.

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For the first time, the World Baseball Classic is expanding to 20 teams with pool play starting in March in four cities around the world: Phoenix, Miami, Tokyo, Japan and Taichung, Taiwan. The quarter-final matches will be held in Tokyo and Miami, while the semi-finals and championship match will be held in Miami.

The United States are the reigning champions after winning the 2017 World Cup. 8-0 shutout Puerto Rico for first title. They will play in Group C in Phoenix along with Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Great Britain.

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Featured photo: © Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports


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