Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Despite urging from Santana, Encarnacion skips Classic

Special to MLB.com

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It comes as little surprise the lockers of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana sit side by side in the Indians' spring clubhouse. The two became good friends when they played together for Team Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

This time around, though, Santana will slug it out for the defending champions without Encarnacion, who made the decision to skip the WBC '17 in order to assimilate himself with his new organization and teammates.

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It comes as little surprise the lockers of Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana sit side by side in the Indians' spring clubhouse. The two became good friends when they played together for Team Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

This time around, though, Santana will slug it out for the defending champions without Encarnacion, who made the decision to skip the WBC '17 in order to assimilate himself with his new organization and teammates.

"So I could adjust," Encarnacion said through a team interpreter on Thursday morning. "I wanted to get used to everything here -- to my teammates, to the organization, to the rules that they have."

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million free-agent deal in the offseason after spending the last 7 1/2 seasons with the Blue Jays.

"I always thought that if I was going to sign with a new team, I would stay with them," Encarnacion said. "And if I had stayed in Toronto, then I would play. The president here [Chris Antonetti] asked if it would be possible to stay, and that made the decision easier."

Indians manager Terry Francona is pleased with the conclusion to which his new cleanup hitter came.

"I'm proud of his decision," Francona said. "What I care really about, either way, is him getting his at-bats and getting ready for the season."

Video: CLE@SEA: Encarnacion opens scoring with an RBI double

The organization may be happy to have Encarnacion around while the Dominican team opens Pool C play at 6 p.m. ET Thursday in Miami, but he felt plenty of pressure to go the other way. Starting from Santana.

"Everybody tried," Encarnacion said, briefly breaking from Spanish. "They always call me, always FaceTime me and tell me what I'm missing out on and what it would be like if I was there. It was a really hard decision because I wanted to represent my country. It was a difficult decision because the whole country was on top of me about it."

Following Thursday's opener against Canada, the Dominican team will face Team USA on Saturday and then Colombia on Sunday.

The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally 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, 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.

Chris Gabel is a contributor to MLB.com.

Cleveland Indians, Dominican Republic, Edwin Encarnacion