HOUSTON -- Eight Astros players will represent six countries in this year's World Baseball Classic, led by All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve (Venezuela), designated hitter/outfielder Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico) and relief pitcher Luke Gregerson (United States).The other Astros appearing on World Baseball Classic rosters released Wednesday are shortstop Carlos Correa
HOUSTON -- Eight Astros players will represent six countries in this year's World Baseball Classic, led by All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve (Venezuela), designated hitter/outfielder Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico) and relief pitcher Luke Gregerson (United States).
The other Astros appearing on World Baseball Classic rosters released Wednesday are shortstop Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico), outfielder Norichika Aoki (Japan), third baseman Alex Bregman (Team USA), pitcher Kevin Chapman (Canada) and pitcher Dayan Diaz (Colombia), who is a non-roster invitee to camp.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
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.
Beltran, a 19-year veteran who is returning to the Astros on a one-year deal this year, is coming off an All-Star season with the Yankees and Rangers in which he hit .295 with 29 homers and 93 RBIs in 151 games. This will be his fourth appearance on Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic Roster (2006, '09, '13).
Altuve, 26, will be making his World Baseball Classic debut for Venezuela. The two-time American League batting champion and four-time All-Star, Altuve last year hit .338 with a league-leading 216 hits, while posting 108 runs, 42 doubles, 24 homers, 96 RBIs, 60 walks, 30 stolen bases, .396 on-base percentage, a .531 slugging percentage and a .928 OPS.
Claimed off waivers from the Mariners in November, the 34-year-old Aoki hit .283 with 24 doubles, four triples, four homers, 28 RBIs and a .349 on-base percentage in 118 games last year. He was on Japan's World Baseball Classic roster in 2006 and '09.
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Correa, 22, hit .274 with 20 homers and 96 RBIs in his first full season in the big leagues last year, giving him back-to-back seasons of at least 20 homers. His 41 career homers at shortstop are already a franchise record at the position. He was the first player from Puerto Rico taken No. 1 in the Draft (2012).
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Gregerson will bring veteran relief experience to Team USA. Among AL relievers, he ranked fifth in opponent batting average (.183) and led the Majors in swing-and-miss percentage at 42.6 percent last year. Bregman, the former No. 2 overall Draft pick, hit .264 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in his big league debut last year for Houston.
Diaz spent his 2016 season in the Reds' organization, posting a 7-1 record with a save and a 3.05 ERA in 40 games (one start) with Triple-A Louisville. Chapman, a lefty, spent most of last season at Triple-A Fresno (51 appearances), striking out 76 batters in 61 innings. Chapman, whose father was born in Canada, appeared in nine games with Houston.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.