Melky Mesa has informed Team Dominican Republic that he will not be joining the team in the World Baseball Classic. Mesa, 26, according to reports, made the decision on his own and was not pressured by the New York Yankees to withdraw. Mesa has been off to a good start this spring and has a shot at making the Yankees 25-man roster as a fourth outfielder and right-handed bat.
So far this spring, Mesa has gone 4-for-15 (.267) with two home runs and two stolen bases. With Curtis Granderson out until May with a fractured forearm the competition between Matt Diaz, Zoilo Almonte, Juan Rivera and Ronnie Mustelier is currently for two spots. Mesa might have an edge for one of those spots since he already has a 40-man roster spot.
Mesa’s decision to stay out of the World Baseball Classic leaves Team Dominican Republic short on outfielders. Nelson Cruz, Moises Sierra, Ricardo Nanita and Alejandro De Aza will make p the outfield unless there is a late addition to replace Mesa. Mesa figured to be a starter for Team Dominican and the extra playing time would have been good for Mesa. However, it would have been away from the eyes that would be judging him and away from the coaching staff that he needs to work with to develop his game.
Had Granderson not been hurt in his first spring training at bat it would have been very beneficial for Mesa to participate in the WBC. However, with a legitimate shot at making the team it was important for Mesa to stick around Tampa especially with nice springs from Mustelier and Almonte.
Team Dominican has had a real problem with finding outfielders this time around with many stars choosing to forgo the World Baseball Classic like Melky Cabrera and Carlos Gomez which could hinder their ability to finally unseat Team Japan as champions.