Wright to join Team USA in Classic
Mets third baseman did not participate in inaugural tournament in '06
Yet when the 2009 World Baseball Classic begins this March, one of the most popular Mets, David Wright, will be representing the United States.
Wright will play third base for Team USA, a Mets official confirmed on Monday, giving the Mets even more exposure on a world stage.
Wright could be the lone Mets player on Team USA, but certainly not in the tournament. Outfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos Delgado and reliever Pedro Feliciano have all said that they would like to play for Puerto Rico, pitchers Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez have said likewise about the Venezuelan team, and shortstop Jose Reyes has said that he would like to play for the Domincan Republic.
Those players, along with reliever Duaner Sanchez and catcher Brian Schneider, are the current Mets who played in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.
Wright, 26, hit .302 with 33 home runs and 124 RBIs for the Mets last season, and has been the team's most productive hitter over the past four seasons. He did not participate in the 2006 Classic.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez started at the position for Team USA that year, though he has committed to play for the Domincan Republic this time around. The other third baseman on the 2006 roster, Chipper Jones of the Braves, has also confirmed that he will play this season.
Other confirmed American players include Red Sox second baseman -- and reigning American League MVP -- Dustin Pedroia, Braves catcher Brian McCann, Angels pitcher John Lackey and Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
Team USA made it to the second round of play in the inaugural Classic, before losing in a pool that included South Korea and eventual champion Japan. This year, the Americans will play their opening-round matches in Toronto, within a pool that includes Canada, Italy and Venezuela.
The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will play in San Juan, P.R., along with Panama and the Netherlands.