OTTAWA – Canada’s 28-player roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic was announced tonight on MLB Network along with those of the other 15 participating nations.
The Canadian roster features nine players who played Major League Baseball in 2016 including Andrew Albers (Twins), John Axford (Athletics), Kevin Chapman (Astros), Freddie Freeman (Braves), Jim Henderson (Mets), Adam Loewen (Diamondbacks), Dustin Molleken (Tigers), Justin Morneau (White Sox) and Dalton Pompey (Blue Jays).
Also named to the roster are former big leaguers Ryan Dempster, Éric Gagné, George Kottaras, Chris Leroux, Scott Mathieson, Pete Orr, Scott Richmond and Rene Tosoni.
Morneau and Orr are set to join an exclusive group of players to participate in all four World Baseball Classic tournaments since the inaugural event in 2006.
In addition to Morneau and Orr, 10 players named to Canada’s roster have previous World Baseball Classic experience including Andrew Albers (2013), John Axford (2013) Jim Henderson (2013), Chris Leroux (2009, 2013), Adam Loewen (2006, 2013), Jonathan Malo (2013), Scott Mathieson (2006, 2013), Dustin Molleken (2013), Scott Richmond (2009) and Rene Tosoni (2013).
Team Canada boasts 24 players who have worn the Maple Leaf in previous international competition including 13 Pan American Games gold medalists, nine WBSC Baseball World Cup bronze medalists and two former Olympians.
“We’re fortunate to have so many players on our roster with World Baseball Classic experience and international experience on their resumes,” said Canadian Manager Ernie Whitt. “International baseball presents a different set of circumstances compared to the regular season so it’s a positive that we have some veteran players who’ve been through it before.”
Kevin Chapman, Freddie Freeman, George Kottaras and Eric Wood will be representing Canada for the first time in international competition at the World Baseball Classic.
Canada will compete in Pool C in the First Round along with Colombia, defending champion Dominican Republic and the United States. On March 9th at Marlins Park in Miami, Canada will open pool play against the Dominican Republic before taking on Colombia on March 11th and the United States on March 12th.
Canada will play a pair exhibition games prior to the World Baseball Classic starting against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 7th in Dunedin, before taking on the New York Yankees in Tampa on March 8th.
For more information on the World Baseball Classic, please visit: worldbaseballclassic.com