HAVANA (AP) — A Cuban who has signed with a Major League Baseball organization or another foreign club will join the domestic star for the first time on a national team playing in the World Baseball Classic, officials said Wednesday. announced at 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 Chicago White Sox third baseman Yoan Moncada and center fielder Luis Robert, plus three players from the Triple-A roster: Detroit Tigers infielder Andy Ibáñez of Tordeo Mudd Hens. , Oakland Athletics’ Russ right-hander Miguel Romero of the Kansas City Royals’ Omaha Storm Chasers of the Vegas Aviators and right-hander Ronald Bolaños.

Also joining the team is former New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, 37, who last played in the major leagues in 2018.

Two Cubans playing in Japan were selected: Pacific League Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks outfielder Julisbel Glacial and Central League Chunichi Dragons catcher Ariel Martinez.

To arrange the participation of MLB players, Cuba had to obtain special permission from the United States because Washington maintains sanctions against Cuba. Under the agreement, these players are prohibited from coming to Cuba to work with the team.

Baseball is Cuba’s national sport, but economic hardships, a philosophy of restricting athlete movement, and the lure of professional contracts abroad have led to a dramatic decline in games on the island.


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