The World Baseball Classic rosters were announced Thursday afternoon by MLB Network as we found all the provisional rosters for all 16 countries. The event will begin March 2nd and conclude on March 17th in San Francisco, California. Three Yankees were selected to play for their respective countries in Mark Teixeira (USA), Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), and Francisco Cervelli (Italy). I am a fan of this event, but there are many people out there who think the event should be played right after the season or think this event should not even be played at all.
There is one Yankee who originally had his name in the running for the team, but pulled out of the competition at the last minute. That man is 40-year-old pitcher Andy Pettitte. Pettitte is coming off of a great year with the New York Yankees in 2012. Despite a short season, Andy was 5-4 on the season with a 2.87 ERA. Also, he was formidable for the Yankees in the playoffs with ten strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched. Coming into 2013, Pettitte becomes a critical piece to the Yankees’ starting rotation.
That being said, I still would have been okay if Pettitte had decided to play for Team USA. I know the games are meaningless compared to the regular season, but these countries take the event very seriously. For example, just look at all the Major League stars on these Latin American countries. You have Miguel Cabrera and Felix Hernandez playing for Venezuela as well as players like Carlos Beltran playing for Puerto Rico, for example. These countries take the classic seriously.
The second reason I would have liked to see Pettitte on the team would be to re-connect with Joe Torre one last time. Torre was Pettitte’s manager for ten full seasons with the New York Yankees and will be the manager of this year’s team USA roster. That would be a sight to see for Yankees fans to reminisce on the glory days of the Yankee dynasty.
Plus, the injury concern would not be as great as you think. Remember, the World Baseball Classic has put limits on how many pitches a player can throw in each round. For Pettitte, he would have likely been the 5th starter on the team and Torre has stated that he will do his best to keep the best interests of the clubs in mind.
Yes, I know that it is just an exhibition, but I am a huge fan of the World Baseball Classic and the Olympic atmosphere that it can bring. It would have been great to see Andy participate in this event, but in the end, I think Pettitte realized that his ultimate goal is not to pitch for Team USA in 2013, but instead bring another World Series title to the Bronx in likely his final year in pinstripes!