'An honor for me': Urías to represent Mexico in World Baseball Classic

September 7th, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers will be well represented in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. A few weeks ago, Mookie Betts, Trea Turner and Will Smith made their commitment to Team USA. Freddie Freeman has also said he’ll play for Team Canada.

On Tuesday, it was Dodgers ace ’ turn to make the announcement that he intends to pitch for Team Mexico during the competition.

“It’s going to be something really nice. Mexico is obviously everything for me,” Urías said in Spanish. “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.”

Urías has represented Mexico in various tournaments as a teenager, but the WBC will be the first time he wears El Tri’s jersey as a professional. The Mexican left-hander wanted to be part of the 2017 WBC, but the Dodgers wanted to protect the then-top prospect from a heavier workload.

“Facing my peers at this level is a lot of fun,” Urías said. “But competing against each other as countries is going to be something really fun for all of us.”

Urías’ participation will, of course, be dependent on his health. He expects to prepare even earlier this offseason, which could make for a challenging winter given the Dodgers’ aspirations of playing into November. 

But Urías said that he prefers preparing for next season while playing meaningful games as opposed to building up during Grapefruit League play. Urías and the Dodgers had discussions leading up to his decision to play for Mexico. After a few conversations, it became clear that playing for Mexico was important to Urías, who will enter his last season of arbitration this winter. 

“I’m excited for Julio,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “I can’t appreciate what it means or how it feels to essentially represent a country every day you’re out there pitching. But an opportunity to represent his country, wearing the green and red and white, I think is something that will be a thrill for him and something he’ll remember forever.” 

Urías becomes the third member of Team Mexico to commit, joining Rays stars Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes. Mexico is joined by the United States, Canada, Colombia and the winner of the 2022 WBC Qualifier. Games will be played at Chase Field in Phoenix.