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Dominican Republic Keeps Nelson Cruz as GM for 2026 WBC

 Julian Guilarte  |    May 29th, 2024 10:00am EDT

Nelson Cruz photographed during the 2023 Mexico City Series. (Photo by Gabriella Ricciardi/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Nelson Cruz will remain the General Manager of the Dominican Republic for the 2026 World Baseball Classic, Cruz told Perodico HOY reporter Franklin Mirabal on May 27. Z101 MLB reporter Hector Gomez confirmed the news on social media.

Nelson Cruz was also hired as a consultant to MLB as a special advisor to baseball operations on May 16. His main focus will be on Latin America and growing player relations in the Dominican Republic. Cruz retired from MLB this offseason and played his last season with the San Diego Padres in 2023.

Cruz was the G.M. in 2023 and also played in the WBC for the Dominican Republic in 2023. The Dominican Republic went 2-2 in Pool D at loanDepot Park in Miami. They beat Nicaragua and Israel. They lost to Venezuela and were eliminated by Puerto Rico, losing 5-2 on the final day of pool play.

Cruz was on the team and was named to the 2013 All-World Baseball Classic team as an outfielder. Nelson Cruz had four doubles and six RBI in the 2013 WBC.

Cruz also played on the team in 2009, when the Netherlands eliminated them in Pool D at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cruz played in four World Baseball Classics, and in 2017, the D.R. went 1-2 in Pool F at Petco Park in San Diego. They beat Venezuela and lost to Puerto Rico and Team USA.

In the inaugural WBC in 2006, the D.R. took fourth place. They lost 3-1 to Cuba in Petco Park in the semi-finals. They went 5-2 and got fourth place because South Korea went 6-1.

The Dominican Republic is set to play in the 2026 WBC and will not need to play in the qualifiers because they finished third in Pool D. The teams that finished last in their respective pools will need to play in the qualifiers to make the 2026 WBC.

The MLB announced that Miami, Houston, Puerto Rico, and Tokyo will host the WBC group stages on May 23, 2024. Houston and Miami will host the quarterfinals, and Miami will host the semifinals and championship game.

Cruz will look to assemble a team that will win it all in 2026, and he will have a loaded pool of talent to choose from.

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Julian Guilarte