SEATTLE -- Six members of the Mariners' 40-man roster, as well as another five from the club's Minor League system, were among the players named to World Baseball Classic squads on Wednesday when the tournament's rosters were officially announced.As expected, second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz will
SEATTLE -- Six members of the Mariners' 40-man roster, as well as another five from the club's Minor League system, were among the players named to World Baseball Classic squads on Wednesday when the tournament's rosters were officially announced.
As expected, second baseman Robinson Cano and designated hitter Nelson Cruz will play for the Dominican Republic, long-time ace Felix Hernandez will pitch for Venezuela, newly acquired starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo is lined up to play for Mexico and closer Edwin Diaz will be in Puerto Rico's bullpen.
Additionally, new Seattle starter Drew Smyly was named as one of 10 hurlers who'll be in the "designated pitchers pool" for Team USA and could be added to its roster in the later rounds.
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Minor Leaguers chosen from the Mariners are right-hander Sam Gaviglio and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, both of whom will play for Italy, outfielder Tyler O'Neill (Canada), right-hander Emilio Pagan (Puerto Rico) and catcher Sebastian Valle (Mexico). O'Neill, Venditte and Valle have all been invited to the Mariners' Major League camp, which opens next week in Peoria, Ariz.
Cano and Cruz will both be competing in the tournament for the third time, having played for the Dominican in 2009 and '13. Hernandez will be making his second World Baseball Classic appearance, as he pitched for Venezuela in '09 but skipped the '13 tournament. Gallardo pitched for Mexico in '13, and Venditte was a reliever for Italy in that tournament.
Smyly's situation is unique, as he's part of the newly installed designated pitcher pool, a rule that was announced last week.
Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool (DPP), which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers but can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those "active" DPs can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another DP. Once a DP has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round.
Using Team USA as an example, Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark are the active DPs for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other DPs. And if a DP joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round, but only by another DP.
That means Smyly won't be part of the U.S. squad initially, but he could be added later in the tournament. Other designated pitchers for Team USA are Michael Fulmer and Alex Wilson of the Tigers, Sonny Gray of the A's, Brett Cecil of the Cardinals and J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays.
Only two Major League franchises have more than Seattle's 11 players participating in the tournament. The Tigers have 15 and the Mets have 13, with the Mariners tied for third at 11 with the Indians, Royals, Yankees, Cardinals and Blue Jays.
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.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter [
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