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Miggy, Tigers set to depart for Classic

Most players will leave Sunday, but slugger will play vs. Phils before heading out
MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers fielded a majority of their regulars Saturday in an 11-1 loss to the Yankees, giving a near-capacity crowd at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium some familiar faces. It was the last opportunity they'll have to see many of those players for a couple of weeks.

No team had as many players assigned to World Baseball Classic rosters when they were announced last month as the Tigers, who had 15. It was a sign of the international talent Detroit has assembled, but it was bound to leave a void when the national teams begin training for first-round play next week.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Tigers fielded a majority of their regulars Saturday in an 11-1 loss to the Yankees, giving a near-capacity crowd at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium some familiar faces. It was the last opportunity they'll have to see many of those players for a couple of weeks.

No team had as many players assigned to World Baseball Classic rosters when they were announced last month as the Tigers, who had 15. It was a sign of the international talent Detroit has assembled, but it was bound to leave a void when the national teams begin training for first-round play next week.

View Full Game Coverage

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The top three hitters in Saturday's Tigers lineup -- Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera -- all will play in the Classic. So, too, are closer Francisco Rodriguez -- who made his first appearance of spring on Saturday -- and setup man Bruce Rondon, plus relief prospect Joe Jimenez. Efren Navarro, who would otherwise fill in for Cabrera while he's away, will play for Team Mexico. William Cuevas, who made an early impression in relief, will also depart for a while to pitch for Team Colombia.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Most are expected to leave Sunday. Cabrera said he'll play one more game for the Tigers on Sunday against the Phillies in Clearwater before leaving Monday.

"It's good for us," Cabrera said, "because it makes you be ready sooner. You're focused on winning right away. I feel good. I think my legs have responded well. I think I'm ready to go nine innings."

Michael Fulmer and Alex Wilson are in the Designated Pitcher Pool for Team USA. They don't have to leave right away since they're not part of the first-round roster, but could leave for a short while if called upon for second- or third-round play. The same goes for Venezuelan reliever Arcenio Leon, who has impressed with his early performance in camp.

The Classic, Cabrera said, can be good for younger players like Rondon and Jimenez.

"They can show to everybody they can pitch under pressure at a high level," Cabrera said. "I think it's a good opportunity for young guys. A lot of young guys from Venezuela don't want to go because they want to stay in Spring Training, but I tell them, 'You've got a good opportunity to pitch in big games so the team can watch you and see if you can pitch with pressure.'"

2017 World Baseball Classic rules

As manager Brad Ausmus pointed out, the Tigers' representation in the Classic was a big reason they brought in as many non-roster invitees as they did. Their 63 players in camp outnumbered the total number of lockers in their new Spring Training clubhouse, forcing them to bring in a temporary block of lockers to put in the middle.

The World Baseball Classic runs from Monday through March 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. The tournament will be distributed internationally 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.

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.

Detroit Tigers, Miguel Cabrera