TORONTO -- The Blue Jays could have 10 players taking part in this year's World Baseball Classic when action gets underway on March 6.Jose Bautista (Dominican Republic), Marcus Stroman (United States) and Dalton Pompey (Canada) are among the confirmed participants. Roberto Osuna (Mexico), Marco Estrada (Mexico) and J.A. Happ (United
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays could have 10 players taking part in this year's World Baseball Classic when action gets underway on March 6.
Jose Bautista (Dominican Republic), Marcus Stroman (United States) and Dalton Pompey (Canada) are among the confirmed participants. Roberto Osuna (Mexico), Marco Estrada (Mexico) and J.A. Happ (United States) have been added to their countries' designated pitcher pool.
Right-hander Leonel Campos (Venezuela), lefty Shane Dawson (Canada), lefty Jake Fishman (Israel) and righty Jordan Romano (Italy) were the Blue Jays Minor Leaguers who made the list.
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Even though Osuna, Estrada, Happ, Fishman and Campos were named to their rosters, it doesn't guarantee they will actually pitch. That's because they were named to a designated pitcher pool, which is being implemented by the World Baseball Classic for the first time, and is designed to increase each country's depth on the mound.
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Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool (DPP), which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers but can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those active DPs can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another DP. Once a DP has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round.
Using Team USA as an example, Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark are the active DPs for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other DPs. And if a DP joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round.
Bautista wanted to play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but he was denied that opportunity by the Blue Jays because he was coming off season-ending wrist surgery. Toronto wanted to keep an eye on Bautista throughout Spring Training of that year, but it meant he missed a chance to play for a Dominican team that went on to win the tournament. Bautista dealt with some injuries last season as well, but he finished the year and is at full health heading into camp.
Pompey might benefit from this tournament more than anyone else. Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton Jr. are expected to form a platoon in left field, but Pompey is expected to get a lot of playing time for Canada and could use some of those at-bats to make his own case. It's not immediately clear how Estada, Osuna and Happ will be used because of their DPP status, but more details should be known soon.
One notable omission from the list of rosters was Russell Martin, who was expected to be named Team Canada's starting shortstop. According to a report from Sportsnet, Martin had to pull out because of insurance complications after undergoing minor knee surgery earlier this offseason.
Martin previously spoke out about his desire to play shortstop and the Blue Jays were going to let him but in the end it won't happen. His absence will be a big blow to a Canadian squad that also will try to compete without big leaguers such as Joey Votto, James Paxton, Brett Lawrie, Michael Saunders and Jameson Taillon.
The move to shortstop would have been rather unconventional, but Martin does have a little bit of experience in the infield at the big league level. He's made three appearances at second base for Toronto and has played 19 games at third during his 11-year career, but it won't be happening this spring.
The same issue popped up back in the 2013 World Baseball Classic as well. Martin expressed a desire to play shortstop instead of catcher, and when Canada's roster was revealed, he was not on the list. Martin received a lot of heat at the time for not taking part, but this time around, it was Baseball Canada who reached out and asked if he was still willing to play the infield.
"I'm playing with Canada's team right now," Martin said at a banquet for Baseball Canada last month. "So if there's an issue that comes up where I can't play for Team Canada, at least people aren't going to get quite as mad as last time when I wasn't playing."
The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.