Martinez and Bard commit to Team USA bullpen

December 13th, 2022

Team USA's bullpen got a little deeper on Tuesday as it was announced that Padres reliever Nick Martinez and Rockies closer Daniel Bard are "All in" for this spring's World Baseball Classic.

Not only will the arms add some serious depth to the United States' relief core -- Martinez pitched 106 1/3 solid innings for the Friars while Bard's 34 saves were sixth-most in the Majors -- but the call to the national team represents a huge comeback in each players' career.

When the tournament was last held in 2017, Martinez posted a 5.66 ERA for the Rangers before heading to Japan to pitch for the Nippon Ham Fighters the next year. Meanwhile Bard was battling his yips, walking 24 batters in just 9 1/3 innings across two Minor League levels with the Mets. That the two are not only back in the Major Leagues, but are now set to pitch for their country, is one of the truly inspirational stories to follow in the tournament.

Though rosters won't be finalized until later this winter, here's how the USA currently looks:

C: J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith
1B: Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt
2B: Trevor Story
SS: Tim Anderson, Bobby Witt Jr.
3B: Nolan Arenado
OF: Mookie Betts, Cedric Mullins, Mike Trout, Kyle Tucker
SP: Nestor Cortes, Kyle Freeland, Merrill Kelly, Miles Mikolas, Brady Singer, Adam Wainwright, Logan Webb
RP: Daniel Bard, David Bednar, Nick Martinez, Ryan Pressly, Dillon Tate, Devin Williams

Team USA will begin its title defense on March 11 in Phoenix, taking on Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain in Pool C.