Players from all over the world will proudly represent their countries in next month’s World Baseball Classic in what has become one of the more entertaining international baseball tournaments. Cesar Ramos, a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays, will get to feel that pride this year as he has accepted the invitation to pitch for team Mexico.
The left-handed reliever is the son of Mexican-born parents who emigrated to the Unites States 33 years ago. Because of that heritage, Ramos, who was born in Los Angeles, is eligible to play for Mexico in the WBC, and it’s an opportunity that the 28-year-old is really looking forward to:
“It’s a big honor to be asked to play for them and to do it for my parents, also.
“They’re excited for it. And people back home, my aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins’ cousins will be able to watch me play.
“I have a lot of family I haven’t met before down there so it will be cool for them to see a cousin that plays (for Mexico).”
Ramos would have liked to have pitched for Mexico during previous Classics, but didn’t get the invitation before. Now, he’s looking forward to the opportunity represent Mexico and his family.
In Ramos, Mexico adds a left-handed arm that can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen. Ramos has said he’s very excited to get a chance to work with Mexico’s pitching coach Fernando Valenzuela and will be leaving for training camp in Phoenix on March 3. Mexico opens up pool play March 8 against team USA.
Ramos will have to miss a chunk of Spring Training with the Rays, but the team and manager Joe Maddon aren’t concerned. He should still be in good form to start the regular season and won’t be pushed into any high-stress situations early on as he isn’t a candidate for any saves in the current bullpen configuration for the Rays.
Maddon said Ramos was “in good shape,” and didn’t worry about him tiring his arm out before the season. The team will send him to the WBC with some parameters to follow, though Maddon admitted “I don’t know what those will be at this point.”