Alexander Smit Dispatches: WBC News
Included in the 60 is Donutball's adopted Minor Leaguer, Alexander Smit. The 20 year-old left-handed pitcher completed his third season as a Minnesota Twin farmhand before flying off for last autumn's World Cup hosted in Holland. The Dutch claimed fourth spot in the 18 team tournament. A U.S. side composed of Minor Leaguers came 7th.
Smit was far from overawed in his four WC appearances and that's helped him earn a good shot at the Dutch team for the WBC. Though the participation of Major Leaguers in the WBC will prove a sterner test.
The final 30-man rosters, which will be selected before the start of the WBC, will be made up of those players on these provisional rosters
The Netherlands will compete in Group C with Puerto Rico, Cuba (tbc) and Panama. Group games will be played in Puerto Rico 7-10 March.
Their roster has been boosted by bona fide all-stars in Oakland's Mark Mulder and the Braves' center fielder Andruw Jones. The former claims Dutch heritage whilst Jones is, of course, from the Dutch territory of Curacao. Coach Robert Eenhoorn might be tempted to pick another Curacao native, Yurendell De Caster, currently on the Pirates' 40-man roster. Shortstop De Caster led the Venezuelan Winter League with 17 homers.
According de Nederlandse Honkbalsite Holland opens camp on 17 February at the Braves Spring Training complex in Orlando, Florida. Former Oakland and Los Angeles pitcher Bob Welch has been named pitching coach by Eenhoorn.
The Dutch are due to take on group hosts Puerto Rico at 2pm local time on Wednesday 8 at San Juan
Expos' Hiram Bithorn Stadium.