Fans may have noticed that spring training starts earlier this year for the Royals, and that’s because of the World Baseball Classic.
That tournament began in 2006, but it hasn’t gained must-see status in the United States. The reason could be it’s relatively new or because Team USA has never finished in the top three.
This will be the fourth edition of the World Baseball Classic, and that means players from every major-league team will be leaving their respective spring camps to join their respective countries.
Royals left-hander Danny Duffy and first baseman Eric Hosmer will join Team USA in Fort Myers, Fla., on March 6 for a two-day camp before the first game against Colombia on March 10. Duffy is fired up to represent his country and also to play for former Pirates/Tigers/Marlins/Rockies manager Jim Leyland.
“Playing for Jim Leyland is going to be amazing,” Duffy said. “You’ve just got to kind of pinch yourself sometimes, because the dude’s a classic. I’ve always really admired Jim Leyland since I was little, honestly.
“I’m pretty stoked. I can’t wait to get out there, especially with sharing the field with Hos on that kind of stage.”
Duffy said he’s feeling good and threw his first bullpen session on Tuesday.
“But as amazing as this opportunity is, I’m going to make sure, I have an ultimate responsibility to Kansas City,” Duffy said. “So I’ll take care of myself and they’ll take care of me, too. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Pool play games will be played from March 6-12 in four first-round sites. It’s a round-robin format.
Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Israel, the Netherlands and South Korea. Games will be played in Seoul, South Korea.
Pool B: Australia, China, Cuba, Japan. Games will be held in Tokyo.
Pool C: Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic and the United States. Games will be played at Marlins Park in Miami.
Pool D: Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Games will be in Jalisco, Mexico.
The winners and runners-up from each group will advance into another round-robin group. The top two teams from Pool A and Pool B will play in Toyko from March 12-16. The winners and runners-up from Pools C and D will match up at Petco Park in San Diego from March 14-19.
The winners from each group will play in semifinals on March 20-21. The championship game will be held March 22.
2013: Dominican Republic
Royals who are participating
Catcher Drew Butera (Italy)
Pitcher Danny Duffy (USA)
Shortstop Alcides Escobar (Venezuela)
First baseman Eric Hosmer (USA)
Catcher Salvador Perez (Venezuela)
Pitcher Joakim Soria (Mexico)
Note: Vice President of Communications Mike Swanson will be working with the Dominican Republic as media liaison.
Royals minor-leaguers who are participating
Catcher Allan De San Miguel (Australia)
Shortstop Mauricio Ramos (Colombia)
Left-handed pitcher Jake Kalish (Israel)
Pitcher Gabe Cramer (Israel)
Catcher Meibrys Viloria (Colombia)