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World Baseball Classic: A Look at the Dominican Republic

World Baseball Classic (Photo: Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports)

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The World Baseball Classic is underway for some of the teams participating, others get underway this week. The Dominican Republic starts the WBC on Thursday at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Dominican team will face Venezuela, Spain and Puerto Rico as part of Pool C in the first round.

The Dominican team is led by Robinson Cano of the New York Yankees. Cano is coming off a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger season and will look to lead the Dominicans to victory. Joining Cano in the infield are fellow major leaguers, Hanley Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels, among others.

The outfield is comprised of Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers, Alejandro De Aza of the Chicago White Sox and Eury Perez of the Washington Nationals, among others. Catching for the team is Cleveland Indians backstop, Carlos Santana.

The Dominican team is undoubtedly one of the most threatening offenses in the WBC this year, however the strength of their pitching staff is in question. The DR starting rotation is led by Edison Volquez of the San Diego Padres and joined by Wandy Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals. If the starting rotation can keep them in the game, they have a fairly good looking back end of the bullpen that can keep them in close games. The bullpen includes Fernando Rodney of the Tampa Bay Rays, Santiago Casilla of the San Francisco Giants and Jose Valverde.

Yankees bench coach and DR Manager, Tony Pena will try to lead the Dominican Republic to WBC Championship with help from Cano and Volquez. The Dominican Republic start their run on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. eastern, in their first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here. In addition, Justin covers the Boston Red Sox minor league affiliate, Lowell Spinners at DownontheYarn.com.