OTTAWA-Baseball Canada announced today twenty-eight players that will represent Canada at the World Baseball Classic Qualifier September 20th-24th in Regensburg, Germany. Canada will compete against the Czech Republic, Great Britain and host Germany for a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
“I am very pleased with the composition of our roster heading into the qualifier,” said Baseball Canada’s Director of National Teams, Greg Hamilton. “Our roster is a veteran group with a lot of international experience which should be beneficial in Regensburg.”
In 2011 Major League Baseball and World Baseball Classic Inc. expanded the World Baseball Classic from sixteen countries to twenty-eight and introduced a new qualification round. The new round features 16 teams divided into four pools of four teams each. The teams invited to participate will include the four World Baseball Classic teams from 2009 that did not win a game (Canada, Panama, South Africa, Chinese Taipei) along with Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand.
Each qualification tournament will consist of a six-game modified double-elimination format.
Canada’s roster features 14 players (Albers, Armstrong, Bowman, Hardy, Hill, Jay Johnson, Mike Johnson, Kissock, Kjeldgaard, Malo, Robinson, Smith, Stromsmoe, and Van Ostrand) that won a gold medal at the 2011 Pan Am American Games in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico.
Baseball Canada will see a veteran coaching staff return to the fold led by long-time Manager, and recent Baseball Canada Wall of Excellence inductee, Ernie Whitt, while 1997 National League MVP Larry Walker (Hitting Coach), former Montréal Expo and Toronto Blue Jay Denis Boucher (Pitching Coach), Tim Leiper (Third Base Coach) and Greg Hamilton round out the staff.
Players, coaches and staff will assemble in St. Petersburg, Florida on September 12th for a short Training Camp and Exhibition Series, travel to Regensburg, Germany on September 17th and open the WBC Qualifier on September 20th against Great Britain at 7pm local time.