The Dodgers will be well represented on Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, as infielder Luis Cruz and pitching coach Fernando Valenzuela will join first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on the roster, the Dodgers announced on Monday.
Gonzalez will make his third appearance in the WBC for Mexico, having participated in the 2006 and 2009 events.
"I am very excited and happy to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic," said Gonzalez in a statement. "We are all preparing to represent Mexico as best we can. We’re going all in and with everything we’ve got so our country can be proud of the talent that’s in Mexican baseball. ‘¡Si se puede!’"
Mexico is in Pool D with the United States, Canada, and Italy. Mexico begins first round play on Mar. 7 at 12 p.m. PT on Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, the spring training home of the Diamondbacks and Rockies. Mexico plays the United States on Mar. 8 at 6 p.m. PT at Chase Field, then concludes its Pool D schedule on Mar. 9 at 11:30 a.m. PT against Canada, also at Chase Field.
Full rosters have yet to be announced, but Team USA manager Joe Torre said on Monday that Matt Kemp, coming off of shoulder surgery, would likely not play for the United States, per Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
Cruz played for Team Mexico in 2006, and will make his second WBC appearance. He is currently playing for Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League.
"It means a lot to me to play for Mexico in the WBC," Cruz said in a release. "I’m in Culiacan, Sinaoloa now playing for the Tomateros and the fans here in Mexico are always excited about the Dodgers. There is a lot of support all over Mexico for the club. For me, it’s a big honor to be a Dodger and now to be able play for my country as a Dodger is just a dream. I’m just very happy and thankful."
Valenzuela is a coach for his third WBC for Team Mexico.
"It makes me very proud that the Dodgers will represent Mexico," said Valenzuela. "I think it’s special for our fans because many are from Mexico, have family there or are of Mexican descent. It’s important for me to be a part of this and I’m excited to coach and to support our guys who will be playing on the team."