Six D-backs will be playing on the international stage this spring, as they have been chosen to play for their respective countries in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Reliever Heath Bell and utility man Willie Bloomquist will play for Team USA, while catcher Miguel Montero and outfielder Gerardo Parra will take the field for Venezuela. Reliever David Hernandez will pitch for Mexico, and right-hander Nelson Figueroa will take the mound for Puerto Rico. Provisional rosters for the Classic were filed Thursday, and the final rosters are due Feb. 20.
Bell, Bloomquist and Hernandez won't have to go far from home for the first round, as Team USA and Team Mexico will start the Classic in Pool D, which runs from March 7-10 at Chase Field in Phoenix. Figueroa's Puerto Rico team will join Montero, Parra and Team Venezuela in Pool C, which will take place at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from March 7-10.
The second round will be hosted in Japan's Tokyo Dome and Marlins Park in Miami. The tournament concludes with the championship round, held this year at San Francisco's AT&T Park from March 17-19.
One of 15 pitchers on the United States' provisional roster, Bell already has some international experience under his belt. The right-hander pitched in four games for Team USA in the 2009 Classic, giving up three earned runs on four hits and three walks.
This will be Bloomquist's first Classic, though he figures to see plenty of time on the field given Team USA manager Joe Torre's insistence on carrying two utility players, Bloomquist and Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist. Torre noted that, with 15 pitchers and three catchers on the 28-man roster, he could only carry a starter at each position, an extra outfielder and the two utility men. So the versatile Bloomquist could fill in just about anywhere during the tournament.
"Having talked to all of these players, I sense a great deal of excitement about representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic," Torre said. "I share their excitement and look forward to managing this talented group in March."
Parra, like Bell, played in the 2009 Classic for Venezuela and went 1-for-9 with a walk, two runs scored and five strikeouts. Montero, meanwhile, is a newcomer to the Classic and will join a talented catching corps that includes Kansas City's Salvador Perez and Colorado's Ramon Hernandez.
David Hernandez will be a part of a Mexican pitching staff with, among others, San Francisco's World Series-winning closer Sergio Romo, Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez and Brewers right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada.
Figueroa, who pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings for Puerto Rico in the 2009 Classic, will join a club just as full of Major League talent. Puerto Rico's roster includes Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran, Giants reliever Javier Lopez as well as catchers Jose and Yadier Molina.