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HAVANA (AP) — For the first time, a Cuban from a Major League Baseball team or another foreign club will join the local stars of the national team playing in the World Baseball Classic tournament, officials said Wednesday night.

The Cuban Baseball Federation has long championed the idea of ​​amateurism, punishing those who left the island in search of their fortunes in professional baseball.

But that changed when a national television program announced the 30-man roster for the Cuban national team, which will play in an international competition starting March 8 in Taiwan.

The team includes Detroit Tigers infielder Andy Ibáñez, Oakland Athletics pitcher Luis Miguel Romero, Kansas City Royals pitcher Rolando Bolanos, and Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada and center fielder Luis Luis. Includes a robot.

Also joining the team is outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who played for the New York Mets but hasn’t played in Major League Baseball since 2018.

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