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O's roster hopeful Bleier could join Team Israel

Lefty debating whether he should leave camp for potential 2nd round of Classic
Special to MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- For the moment, Richard Bleier has divided loyalties. The left-handed pitcher is trying to make the Orioles, but he could also play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Should Team Israel, which has won its first two Classic games against Korea and Chinese Taipei, advance to the second round, Bleier, who turned down an opportunity to pitch in this round, could join the squad.

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- For the moment, Richard Bleier has divided loyalties. The left-handed pitcher is trying to make the Orioles, but he could also play for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Should Team Israel, which has won its first two Classic games against Korea and Chinese Taipei, advance to the second round, Bleier, who turned down an opportunity to pitch in this round, could join the squad.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's definitely very exciting to see them play and succeed," Bleier said.

Video: ISR@TPE: Weinstein on Israel's offensive output

Bleier, who was acquired from the Yankees on Feb. 21, had decided not to play for Team Israel because he wanted to concentrate on making the big league club. He remains on Israel's roster.

"Seeing them play makes me want to play as well," Bleier said. "It seems like a rewarding experience."

Bleier, who has allowed a run in three innings in two spring appearances, is undecided on whether he should leave the Orioles temporarily to join Team Israel.

"I honestly don't know how the bracket works, but if they do, I could go, and I'm trying to figure that out," Bleier said. "If it will work out with leaving here and scheduling."

Bleier thinks that playing in the Classic would be fun.

"Personally, it would be great, but more importantly, I think I could help the team," he said. "That would be the main thing. If people want to see me pitch, they'll see me pitch regardless of where I am.

"I don't think that just going over there will be more exposure. That will be just a really good experience, something other than what we play for over here."

Bleier played for Team Israel in September 2012 when it lost to Team Spain in the Classic qualifier. The Orioles have six big league players on WBC 2017 rosters: Welington Castillo and Manny Machado (Dominican Republic), Mychal Givens and Adam Jones (Team USA), Vidal Nuno (Mexico) and Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands).

Rich Dubroff is a contributor for MLB.com.

Baltimore Orioles, Richard Bleier