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WBC Notes: Another Player Out For Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates had their third player drop out of the World Baseball Classic since the provisional rosters were announced. First Ivan De Jesus Jr dropped out so he could concentrate on making the Opening Day roster, then Russell Martin bowed out, saying he wasn’t ready to catch nine innings this early in Spring. Martin came up with right shoulder soreness shortly afterwards, leaving the Pirates down a catcher in Spring. They lost another catcher on Saturday, after Ali Solis suffered back spasms during the Pirates games versus the Detroit Tigers. Solis was supposed to leave for Team Mexico this week and get time as their starting catcher. He played a full season of Winter ball, so he was in good enough shape to catch full-time in the tournament until this injury.

Another Pirates player could be making his way to Bradenton soon from the WBC. Stefan Welch and Team Australia are on the verge of being eliminated from the tournament. They lost their opening game 4-1 to Chinese Taipei, then dropped their second game to Korea this morning by a 6-0 score. Welch went 1-for-3, with a double and a walk. His homer in game one has been the only run scored by Team Australia so far. They play the Netherlands tonight at 11:30 PM EST in a must-win game for a shot at moving forward. Chinese Taipei has already won two games, so they will likely advance to the next round, while both Korea and Netherlands now have a win each. The only way Australia can make it further now, is if they win big tonight and hope Korea loses big to Chinese Taipei in the last game. There is a tie-breaker systems based on runs scored/allowed in case of a tie.

Chris Leroux told MLB.com’s Tom Singer that he will join Team Canada late and make just one start, even if they advance past the first round of play. Leroux will stay with the Pirates until Wednesday so he gets another chance to throw for the team before leaving. He will then make his start against Team Mexico on Saturday night, then rejoin the Pirates.

Three other Pirates will remain with their WBC squads. Jameson Taillon will start on Sunday for Team Canada against Team USA. Wandy Rodriguez will start for the Dominican team and closer Jason Grilli will pitch for Team Italy.

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

WBC Notes: Welch Homers In Opener

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Taillon Looks Good Early In WBC Tune-Up Game

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.heberle Ronald Heberle

    Sefan Welch had another good game going 1-4 with a double and a run scored. He finished the WBC going 3-10 with and was the only player for Team Australia to score. He scored both runs. I am not sure if that shows how good he is or maybe that Australia was that bad. Either way he will be headed back to Minor League camp and I can believe he will be invited to a spring training game at some point. It will be interesting to watch and see how he does this season. I was most impressed with his range on defense moving over and cutting off balls that were headed to the short stop to make a few great plays. Accurate arm and strong arm from third.

    • John Dreker

      Thanks for posting the update. You’re correct, you will likely see him in a spring training game or two at some point. with 24 games still left on the schedule. Where Pirates fans should get a good look at him is the Altoona/Pirates game at the end of ST. He should be starting at 3B for Altoona that game and then during the regular season. I saw two of his AB’s last night, hit the ball well but right at someone each time. He looked real good turning that 5-4-3 DP early on that got Australia out of a bases loaded jam.
      The third base position is empty for the Pirates in the minors. If he can show good defense, some power and good contact skills, he could move up the ladder. His first shot at AA last season went well, he held his own and it was also his first full season at 3B.

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