January 17th, 2013

Three Tigers in World Baseball Classic field

After all the speculation on how many Tigers could be headed to the World Baseball Classic, the list is down to three from the big-league roster. Anibal Sanchez and Octavio Dotel will join Miguel Cabrera on provisional rosters for this year’s event.

Sanchez joins Cabrera on Team Venezuela. Octavio Dotel is on the provisional roster for his native Dominican Republic.

Three Tigers minor leaguers are also taking part. Cale Iorg and Shawn Hill are on the roster for Team Canada, while pitcher Warwick Saupold will join former Tiger Brad Thomas on Team Australia.

That’s it. As mentioned earlier, no Tigers are on the provisional roster for Team USA, though it’s reportedly possible that Justin Verlander could take part depending on how his throwing program progresses in the coming weeks. The deadline for setting rosters is Feb. 20, which would give Verlander about eight days of workouts to see how he feels.

Cabrera has taken part in each of the previous two World Baseball Classics. Statistically, it didn’t seem to hurt his 2006 and 2009 seasons. A report from Lieder en Deportes, a Venezuelan sports publication, quoted Cabrera saying he told Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo that he would be open to playing first or third base, since Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval is also on the team.

Sanchez and Dotel would both be first-time participants. The Marlins held Sanchez out of consideration for the 2009 event after an injury-shortened 2008 season. Dotel was reportedly on the fence about the 2009 World Baseball Classic before pulling out of consideration.

No Tigers on Team USA

The provisional roster for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic is out. No Tigers are on it — no Justin Verlander, no Max Scherzer, no Austin Jackson, nobody who wears the Old English D for a living.

So far, the U.S. and Canada are the only national teams to release their roster. The rest of the teams will be revealed today at 4pm ET on MLB Network. But with the key players mentioned above not taking part, it appears maybe the Tigers’ contingent in the World Baseball Classic won’t be nearly as large as expected, keeping much of the Tigers roster together throughout Spring Training.

So far, the only Tiger known to be committed to the event is Miguel Cabrera, who was among the first handful of superstar players announced as taking part. He’ll be part of Team Venezuela. Other prominent Venezuelans on Detroit’s roster are Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante and Victor Martinez, though the Tigers confirmed last month that they would not give clearance for Martinez to take part while he works his way back from knee surgery.

Reports suggest Verlander could still join the team later if he feels good about his throwing program, but that would be a surprise. For one thing, it would mean taking away a spot from somebody who made an early commitment.