By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Dominican Republic is looking to win the World Baseball Classic for the second time in their nation’s history.
During the 2013 championship game, the Dominican Republic, under manager Tony Pena beat Puerto Rico 3-0. Unfortunately, the Dominican Republic did not reach the 2017 World Baseball Classic semifinals. They went 1-2 in the double elimination pool round and lost to the United States and Puerto Rico at Petco Park in San Diego.
The Dominican Republic is ranked ninth in the World Baseball Softball Confederation’s World Baseball Rankings and could leap higher if they can prevail and staying in Miami from March 11 when Pool D play begins though the championship game on March 21 at Loan Depot Park.
The Dominican Republic will open up on March 11 against Venezuela at 7 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.
Dominican Republic manager Rodney Linares will carry a roster that may feature the best infield in the history of the WBC. Manny Machado, Jeremy Pena, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Rafael Devers are the key components for the Dominican Republic’s infield. Robinson Cano is also on the roster, and could be a factor as a role player, along with providing a veteran leadership presence. Cano bounced around the majors last season, but won the Caribbean Series in February with the LIDOM’s Tigres Del Licey.
The big question the Dominican Republic will have to answer is about the middle of their bullpen and how they will fill the closer role during the two exhibition games before the start of the tournament. The Dominican Republic will train in Lee County, Fla. for three days. Their two exhibition games will be on March 8 against the Atlanta Braves at 1:05 p.m. in North Port and on March 9 against the Twins at 1:05 p.m. EST in Lee County.
The last senior event the Dominican Republic participated in was the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where they beat Korea 10-6 to capture the bronze medal in their second appearance in the Olympics. Julio Rodriguez was the first player in the history of baseball to capture a bronze medal in the Olympics and win the American League Rookie of the Year the following season.
The Dominican Republic can bring the magic to Miami with the lineup they have and a pitching staff that features the 2022 National League Cy Young Award Winner in Sandy Alcantara and Johnny Cueto. If Cristian Javier can eat innings for their starting rotation, the Dominican Republic should be in good shape to advance for Pool D and stay in Miami for the Quarterfinals which starts March 17-18.
2023 Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic Roster
CFA – Current Free Agent
Bryan Abreu (Houston Astros)
Sandy Alcántara (Miami Marlins)
Ronel Blanco (Houston Astros)
Génesis Cabrera (St. Louis Cardinals)
Diego Castillo (Seattle Mariners)
Roansy Contreras (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Johnny Cueto (Miami Marlins)
Enyel De Los Santos (Cleveland Guardians)
Camilo Doval (San Francisco Giants)
Carlos Estévez (Los Angeles Angels)
Jarlín García (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Luis García (San Diego Padres)
Yimi Garcia (Toronto Blue Jays)
Cristian Javier (Houston Astros)
Luis Ortiz (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Rafael Montero (Houston Astros)
Héctor Neris (Houston Astros)
Joel Payamps (Milwaukee Brewers)
Gregory Soto (Philadelphia Phillies)
César Valdez (Los Angeles Angels)
Francisco Mejía (Tampa Bay Rays)
Gary Sánchez (CFA)
Willy Adames (Milwaukee Brewers)
Robinson Canó (CFA)
Nelson Cruz (San Diego Padres)
Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
Wander Franco (Tampa Bay Rays)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)
Manny Machado (San Diego Padres)
Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Jeremy Peña (Houston Astros)
Jean Segura (Miami Marlins)
Teoscar Hernández (Seattle Mariners)
Eloy Jiménez (Chicago White Sox)
Julio Rodríguez (Seattle Mariners)
Juan Soto (San Diego Padres)
Rodney Linares – Manager
Tony Diaz – Bench Coach
Luis Ortiz – Hitting Coach
Wellington Cepeda – Pitching Coach
Julio Borbon – First Base Coach
Ramon Santiago – Third Base Coach