November 4th, 2008
Talked on Tuesday with Carlos Guillen, who confirmed reports that a meeting last month between a contingent of Venezuelan-born Major Leaguers and the country’s sports minister resolved a lot of issues surrounding the country’s preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Guillen now expects many of the country’s big-name players to take part in the WBC next spring.
“We made a big step,” Guillen said. “It’s a lot better. A lot of players, they’re happy. We have a new administration, new general manager. Everything’s good. Luis Sojo is going to be the manager. We made big changes — the general manager, the administration, other stuff. We want to play. I want to play. I think Miggy’s going to play. Magglio’s going to play. Everything’s going to be better.”
That’s huge news for Venezuela, which a few months ago was looking like a major question mark as far as what kind of team it would field. It’s almost as big news for the Tigers, which accordingly will have several of its star players involved in the WBC soon after Spring Training opens in February. On top of Guillen, Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera, Armando Galarraga was already expected to participate before this.
On a side note, since I wrote about Guillen’s health in the mailbag Monday, Guillen said he’s working out four days a week on the offseason program that strength and conditioning coach Javair Gillett gave him and he’s feeling fine.