The Cleveland Indians spring camp will look a little thinner this season in honor of the World Baseball Classic. Four members of the club will honor their home countries and play for their respected squads in the upcoming tournament.
Indians shortstop and two-time all-star Asdrubal Cabrera will play for Team Venezuela this spring. Cabrera is coming off a 2012 season hitting .270 with 16 home runs and 68 RBI’s in 143 games. The 27-year old joins a strong Venezuelan squad in the WBC that features 2012 AL MVP Miguel Cabrera, Rockies all-star Carlos Gonzalez, former Cy Young pitcher Felix Hernandez and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
Tribe catcher Carlos Santana will serve as the backstop for Team Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. The budding Indians star hit just .252 but homered 18 times and drove in 76 runs. The Santo Domingo native will be a part of a team that could go into the spring as the tournament favorite. Possible teammates could include Albert Pujols, Robinson Cano and Jose Reyes.
Team Puerto Rico will feature a new Indian and a young Indian in the WBC. Infielder Mike Aviles will be on the roster. Minor League pitcher Giovanni Soto will also play for the team. Aviles played for Toronto last season and has a very good relationship with Indians manager Terry Francona. Soto pitched in Double-A Akron in 2012 and accumulated an ERA of 3.93.
Newly-acquired Yan Gomes helped Team Brazil qualify for the tournament last winter and can possibly play for the team again in the World Baseball Classic, but has not committed at this time.
The 2013 World Baseball Classic will be played throughout the month of March with the championship set for March 19th at AT&T Park in San Francisco.