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Cabrera, Wright, Cano among stars in Classic

The World Baseball Classic will commence on March 2 and some of Major League Baseball's biggest stars have confirmed their participation in the event.

The schedule and tournament structure for the WBC were unveiled on Monday. The 16 remaining countries and territories will divide into four pools. After each club completes three games in round-robin play, the top two teams from each pool will advance to the second round. A double-elimination setup will then narrow the field to four, and those squads will square off in the championship round, to be concluded on March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

First-round matchups will take place in Fukuoka, Japan; Taichung, Taiwan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Phoenix, Ariz.

Each team has revealed two players who will represent their country during the tournament, and the cast includes 12 Major League All-Stars. Full 28-man rosters will be announced in mid-January.

Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers' Triple Crown and American League Most Valuable Player Award winner, will play for his native Venezuela.

"Baseball is a passion in Venezuela," Cabrera said, "and I look forward to playing for my country against the rest of the world."

Cabrera will be joined by his Fall Classic foe Pablo Sandoval, who claimed the World Series MVP Award for his production for the Giants.

"It was such an amazing experience to win another World Series," said Sandoval, who also earned a championship ring with San Francisco in 2010. "I'd love to win another championship, only this time with my fellow countrymen in the World Baseball Classic."

The Dominican Republic will feature a double-play duo of second baseman Robinson Cano of the Yankees and shortstop Jose Reyes of the Blue Jays. Third baseman David Wright of the Mets and catcher Joe Mauer of the Twins will suit up for the United States.

"It'll be great to put on a Team USA jersey again," Wright said. "I'm honored to play for Team USA and take another crack at winning what is clearly the most difficult baseball tournament in the world."

Team USA manager Joe Torre said it will be like picking an All-Star team, with a twist.

"You basically don't have to tell players what to do, because they did something to get on that team that certainly qualified them to be All-Stars," he explained. "But this is a little bit different. We're certainly interested in having top name players, but we're also interested in having 28 players, half of which will be pitchers, to make it work as a team."

Cardinals teammates Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina will don Puerto Rico's uniforms. Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez plans to play for Mexico and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will represent Canada.

"The popularity of baseball is growing in Canada, and I'm looking forward to playing in the World Baseball Classic again," Morneau said. "There's something special about representing everyone back home and proving that Canadian baseball is among the world's best."

Confirmed for Classic
Twelve Major League All-Stars are among the initial 32 players confirming early to represent their country in the World Baseball Classic in March.
Australia Ryan Rowland-Smith FA
Australia Luke Hughes FA
Brazil Yan Gomes CLE
Brazil Andre Rienzo CWS
Canada Justin Morneau MIN
Canada Brett Lawrie TOR
Chinese Taipei Chien-Ming Wang FA
Chinese Taipei Hong-Chih Kuo FA
China Ray Chang FA
China Wei Wang SEA
Cuba Yuliesky Gourriel N/A
Cuba Freddy Asiel Alvarez N/A
Dominican Republic Robinson Cano NYY
Dominican Republic Jose Reyes TOR
Italy Alex Liddi SEA
Italy Jason Grilli FA
Japan Shinnosuke Abe N/A
Japan Masahiro Tanaka FA
Korea Seung Yuop Lee N/A
Korea Dae Ho Lee N/A
Mexico Adrian Gonzalez LAD
Mexico Jaime Garcia STL
Netherlands Kingdom Andruw Jones FA
Netherlands Kingdom Roger Bernadina WSH
Puerto Rico Carlos Beltran STL
Puerto Rico Yadier Molina STL
Spain Engel Beltre TEX
Spain Francisco Figueroa FA
USA David Wright NYM
USA Joe Mauer MIN
Venezuela Miguel Cabrera DET
Venezuela Pablo Sandoval SF