Urías and Arozarena commit to Team Mexico for World Baseball Classic

October 6th, 2022

After being eliminated in the first round of play in each of the last two World Baseball Classic tournaments in 2013 and '17, Team Mexico will be hoping for a better showing at the 2023 tournament. If Thursday's announcement is any indication, the team will be looking to go a lot further this time around.

Though rosters won't be official until this winter, Dodgers de facto ace Julio Urías and Rays slugger Randy Arozarena affirmed their commitment to playing for the country.

Urías, from Culiacan, Mexico, has been one of the game's very best pitchers over the last two seasons. After leading the Majors with 20 wins in 2021, Urías followed that up with a 17-7 record and National League-best 2.16 ERA.

“It’s going to be something really nice. Mexico is obviously everything for me,” Urías said in Spanish last month when discussing the opportunity. “The love I get from my fellow Mexicans is something I feel every day, not only in Mexico but also here in Los Angeles. It’s going to be an honor for me.”

He'll be joined by Randy Arozarena, the Rays' power-speed threat who became a Mexican citizen earlier this year. After leaving his native Cuba by boat as a 19-year-old in 2015, Arozarena lived in Mérida, Mexico, and played for the Toros de Tijuana before the Cardinals later signed him.

“I feel like I represent Mexico,” Arozarena said in Spanish in 2020. “I have a daughter in Mexico, and I’d do it in honor of her and for the part of my career that I spent in Mexico, and for all the friends I’ve made in Mexico.”

Before the World Baseball Classic though, both players will first compete in the Major League postseason. Arozarena -- who became a household name when he bashed 10 home runs in the 2020 postseason -- and his Rays teammates take on the Guardians starting on Friday afternoon (12:07 p.m. ET), while Urias' Dodgers have a bye and await the winner of the Padres-Mets series. 

Mexico will begin pool play on March 11 in Phoenix, Ari., and will face the United States, Colombia, Canada, and a yet-to-be-determined qualified team.