The Milwaukee Brewers total amount of players that have confirmed their participation in the World Baseball Classic has reached seven after two more members of the organization were added to their respective national teams.
Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo will play for Team Mexico while catcher Martin Maldonado has joined the Puerto Rican national team. There is no surprise that Mexico wanted Gallardo on their team, as the ace is one of the top starters in Major League Baseball. And as far as Maldonado, anyone familiar with the Brewers organization knows the first year catcher deserves a roster spot on Team Puerto Rico.
Gallardo will be Mexico’s top pitcher and must have success in order for the team to go anywhere. Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada could be the Brewers eighth and final player to join a WBC roster. He would join Gallardo on the Mexican national team.
Milwaukee needs Gallardo to have a good season, as he will be the most experienced member of the Brewers young starting rotation. Hopefully, by playing in the WBC Gallardo will jump off to a fast start for the 2013 MLB season. On the other hand, it is critical nothing happens to him such as an injury or fatigue that could set in down the stretch.
Maldonado will most likely backup St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, assuming the four-time All-Star will elect to play in the WBC. Either way, it will be good for Maldonado to get some work in early and play in a competitive environment before the start of the season.
Brewers starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy will play for Team USA along with left fielder Ryan Braun. Meanwhile, closer John Axford, reliever Jim Henderson and second baseman Taylor Green will play for the Canadian national team.
Mexico, USA and Canada are in Pool D. They will begin competition in Phoenix, AZ the weekend of March 7-10.