Five Cards commit to Classic; Boggs joins USA
Molina, Beltran, Salas and Castillo also in; Garcia conspicuously missing
ST. LOUIS -- Five members of the Cardinals organization have committed to participating in the World Baseball Classic, a 16-team tournament set to run from March 2-19.
Landing on Team USA's provisional roster is setup man Mitchell Boggs, who will be a part of the 14-member pitching staff. Catcher Yadier Molina and outfielder Carlos Beltran highlight Puerto Rico's roster. Reliever Fernando Salas (Mexico) and Minor League starter Richard Castillo (Spain) have also been selected to participate.
Missing from the list of participants, though, is left-hander Jaime Garcia, who as of a month ago had been expected to join Team Mexico. Garcia's name was on a short list of Classic participants that Major League Baseball announced during the Winter Meetings as a tease for the event.
At the time, general manager John Mozeliak said that Garcia's participation would hinge on the status of his left shoulder. Garcia twice had to be shut down in 2012 due to shoulder issues and has been resting and rehabbing his arm all offseason.
Mozeliak said on Thursday that Garcia's absence from the provisional roster was ultimately the result of a decision made by the Classic committee, which "did not want to take the risk on a player that did not finish the season healthy."
With Garcia no longer in the mix, the Cardinals will be able to keep an uninterrupted eye on his progress from start to finish during Spring Training.
Beltran and Molina are both third-time Classic participants. Beltran went 8-for-19 in six games for Puerto Rico in the 2009 tournament. Molina played in three games that year.
Boggs, Salas and Castillo are poised to take part in their first Classic experience.
Boggs led the Cardinals in appearances in 2012, with 78, and finished with a league-best 34 holds. He made most of his appearances as the eighth-inning setup man. Salas, who makes his permanent home in Mexico, posted a 4.30 ERA in 65 appearances last season. Castillo, 23, went 9-8 with a 3.27 ERA in 25 starts with high-Class A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.
All players taking part in the Classic will leave the Cardinals' Spring Training facility and won't return until either the three-week tournament concludes or their respective club is eliminated, whichever comes first.
Boggs and Salas will begin pool play in Phoenix, where teams representing Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and Italy will face one another in a round-robin format. The first game for this pool will be on March 7.
The teams from Puerto Rico and Spain are a part of a pool that will play at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico. Rounding out that four-team pool are Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
The provisional rosters can still be adjusted, as necessary. Final rosters of 28 players must be filed by all 16 clubs on Feb. 20. After that point, changes will only be allowed if there is an injury.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.