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Federacion Cubana de Beisbol Will Allow Non-Residents to Play for National Team

 Leif Skodnick  |    Jun 23rd, 2023 3:14pm EDT

Yoan Moncada was one of a few select MLB players to appear for Team Cuba during the 2023 World Baseball Classic . (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network

The Federacion Cubana de Beisbol will allow all non-resident Cubans to compete on the National Team, Cuban Baseball Digest reported on June 21. 

The new policy by the FCB is aimed at Cuban Americans, and would allow players living outside Cuba to fully participate as members of the Cuban National Team. 

The FCB opened the door to the policy change by allowing select Major League Baseball players to play in the World Baseball Classic in March.  

Six MLB players suited up for Cuba at the WBC, outfielder Luis Robert and third baseman Yoan Moncada being the most notable. Cubs’ right-hander Roenis Elias was also on the roster along with former MLB slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

After losing their first two games, Cuba advanced to the semifinals in Miami, Florida after winning a five-way tiebreaker to advance out of Pool A and then beat Australia in a quarterfinal at the Tokyo Dome. In Miami, amid a tense atmosphere, Cuba’s run ended with a 14-2 blowout loss to Team USA.

The news of all non-Cuban residents being able to compete for the Cuban National team comes shortly before the Central American and Caribbean Games. Cuba will face off against Mexico at 11:30 a.m. on June 24 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

In announcing the new policy, Cuban Baseball Federation president Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo released a statement.

“Today, we have decided to include all the people of Cuba, including their descendants, because baseball like all sports tends to unite all people.” Perez Pardo said.

The FCB hopes to find a balance between homegrown talent and Cuban-Americans, and the policy change expands their player pool to include the foreign leagues and the minor leagues in the United States.

“Our main objective is that all baseball players who want to come to represent their homeland and/or province be able to participate and reinsert themselves in not only international tournaments, but also domestic ones, too,” Perez Pardo said.

Future tournaments, including the Pan-American Games next October, could now include minor league players. Cuban-American Peter O’Brien could be the most notable minor leaguer to play for Cuba in the Pan-Am games.

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Leif Skodnick