Special For Puerto Rico The Daily Sun
For every Team Venezuela member the moment they were waiting on is here. All their focus is in the upcoming final round of the World Baseball Classic starting this Saturday at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium.
And they know this is their time to show the world that they can be champions. They know back in the inaugural 2006 Classic they have the squad to be at least a final-four contender. It did not happen. They were 1-2 in the second round at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Same as Puerto Rico, they watched Cuba and the Dominican Republic moving forward to its final round.
“This time we have a different team with a new attitude. This is a very important tournament for Venezuela”, Manager Luis Sojo said. “For us right now our objective is to get to the championship game”.
Not bad at all to play for pride and country, however for the majority of its players baseball life continues after the Classic. The start of the Major League season.
Twenty-one members from Team Venezuela after next Monday will be changing their jerseys to their big league clubs.
” As soon everything ends, packing again and hope the season starts soon,” slugger Miguel Cabrera said.
Cabrera, 26, last season American League home run king will be dressing up for its second season with the Detroit Tigers.
“I’m ready and looking for the new season”, Cabrera said.
The four time All-Star first baseman pointed out he is confident that his Tigers can roar again and win back the American League Central Division. Cabrera indicated that to reach that objective is counting for big help in the lineup from fellow countrymen All-Stars Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordoñez.
Cabrera pointed also that pitching will be very important and is looking for a great season from fellow venezuelan right-hander Armando Galarraga. Galarraga it is expected to be the third starter this season for Jim Leyland’s pack.
As Cabrera other fellow Venezuelans will be returning to their old teams. Others are looking forward to the challenges of being with a new team.
Such as 2008 American League Relief Pitcher of the Year Francisco Rodriguez with the New York Mets.
“I will not do anything different in New York. I’m not going to do anything crazy there. I’m just going to do my job”, Rodriguez said.
Other notable Venezuelans in new uniforms this upcoming season are veterans OF Bobby Abreu (Angels); C Ramon Hernandez (Reds); SS Cesar Izturis (Orioles) and OF Endy Chavez (Mariners).
EXTRA: New York Mets Manager Manager Jerry Manuel still is hopeful left-hander Johan Santana will be its Opening Day starter. Manuel also pointed out he still have not decide yet who will be his fifth starter this upcoming season between invitees Venezuelan Freddy Garcia or Cuban Livan Hernandez….Right-hander Carlos Silva (Mariners) will pitch the World Baseball Classic semifinal game for Venezuela. If they win, right-hander Felix Hernandez (Mariners) will start in the championship game. Hernandez was the starter in the 2-0 shutout win against Puerto Rico at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium.