Pedroia plans to play in Classic
Second baseman receives invite to play for Team USA
BOSTON -- A few hours after Daisuke Matsuzaka was named to Japan's preliminary roster for the World Baseball Classic, another high-profile player from the Red Sox confirmed the likelihood that he will participate in the showcase event.
Dustin Pedroia, the American League's Most Valuable Player in 2008, told WEEI.com -- the Web site of the Red Sox's flagship radio station -- that he recently accepted an invitation to suit up for Team USA.
The U.S. has not announced its preliminary roster yet. It certainly doesn't qualify as a surprise that Pedroia was given an invitation, given the success he's had in his first two seasons.
While Matsuzaka was the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural Classic, this would be the first Classic for Pedroia, who was still in the Minor Leagues in 2006.
The Red Sox, because of the amount of star-caliber players on their roster, are expected to have plenty of representation.
David Ortiz played for the Dominican Republic in 2006, and as long as he has no health concerns, the big designated hitter expects to do so again. Left fielder Jason Bay is all but certain to get an invitation from Canada.
First baseman Kevin Youkilis, closer Jonathan Papelbon and left-hander Jon Lester are other Boston players who might have received overtures from Team USA.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said last week at the Winter Meetings that he was bracing for a number of his players to be absent from camp during the World Baseball Classic, which takes place from March 5-23. The first round will take place in four countries, and the tournament will conclude with the semifinals and finals in Dodger Stadium.
"I don't know how it's going to impact us yet. It's not perfect," Francona said. "You know, because we have a pretty good team, we are probably going to lose some players -- my guess will be between seven and nine guys."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.