Mariners announced 11 players for official World Baseball Classic rosters


The Mariners will have 11 players, including Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Felix Hernandez, contributing in the World Baseball Classic.

The official rosters for the World Baseball Classic were announced on Wednesday afternoon on MLB Network. As expected, the Mariners will be sending a sizable contingent of players to represent their respective countries in the international competition.

Seattle’s three biggest superstars — Nelson Cruz, Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez will participate in the WBC, something they confirmed before the end of last season.

Cruz and Cano will try to defend their WBC title that they won with the Dominican Republic in 2013. Both players played pivotal roles in the DR’s run to the title.

Hernandez will suit up for Venezuela and likely be their No. 1 starting pitcher. Hernandez chose/was asked to sit out the 2013 WBC after signing a five-year, $135.5 million contract in extension in February of 2013. Hernandez pitched for Venezuela in the inaugural WBC in 2009.

Closer Edwin Diaz will serve in the same role for Puerto Rico. Diaz attended WBC games as a fan in 2013 and made a personal vow that he would play for his home country if given the chance.

Two other members of the Mariners’ starting rotation are also on WBC rosters. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who was acquired from the Orioles in a trade this offseason, will pitch in the starting rotation for Mexico. Gallardo pitched for Mexico in the 2013 WBC.

Left-hander Drew Smyly, also acquired via trade in the offseason from the Rays, is one of 10 pitchers in Team USA’s designated pitching pool. Smyly won’t pitch in pool play, but could be activated in later rounds.

Pitcher James Paxton (Canada) and Danny Valencia (Israel) decided not to play in the WBC after initial offers.

Five Mariners’ minor leaguers were also chose for rosters.

Top outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill will represent Canada. The young slugger has been adamant about his desire to represent his country any time he’s given the chance. O’Neill played for Team Canada in the Pan-Am Games and Premier 12 tournament in 2015.

Right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan will also pitch for Puerto Rico with Diaz. The two were teammates at Class AA Jackson last season.

Switch-pitching reliever Pat Venditte and right-handed starter Sam Gaviglio will pitch for Italy. Venditte pitched for Italy in 2013. Both pitcher are predictable to be in Class AAA Tacoma this season.

Sebastian Valle, a minor league free agent catcher, who signed with the team this offseason, will play for Mexico.

Former Mariners Alex Liddi (Italy), Ryan Rowland-Smith (Australia), Travis Blackley (Australia), Wlad Balentien (Netherlands), Joel Pineiro (Puerto Rico) and Dae-Ho Lee (Korea)  will participate in the WBC.