'Sir Sid' Gives Nod To The Netherlands

Bert Blyeven Joins Netherlands as Pitching Coach

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Pitcher Sidney Ponson is the first Major League Baseball player to confirm his participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands. Bert Blyeven will assist newly-named manager Rod Delmonico as a pitching coach during the World Baseball Classic. The Dutch Club will hold their training camp in Bradenton, Florida, spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

A native of Aruba, Ponson will be playing for the Dutch National Team for the first time in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The right-handed free agent is coming off of a successful season with the New York Yankees in which he played in 25 games, starting 24, with eight wins, five losses, 58 strikeouts and a 5.04 ERA. Ponson spent most of his 11 years in the Major Leagues with the Baltimore Orioles, but also played for the San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers. In 2003, Ponson earned his nickname 'Sir Sid' when he was made a Knight in the Orde of Orange- Nassau by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, along with fellow baseball players Eugene Kingsale and Calvin Maduro.

Netherlands-born Bert Blyleven, known for his legendary curveball, will join Jim Stoeckel as a pitching coach for the Netherlands. Stoeckel, the former Director of International Operations of the Cincinnati Reds, was appointed pitching coach for the Dutch national team for the 2009 season. In the first round of play, the Netherlands will compete in Pool D in San Juan, Puerto Rico against the Dominican Republic, Panama and Puerto Rico. Round One games will be played entirely outside of the 50 United States in the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan; Estadio Foro Sol in Mexico City, Mexico; Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada and Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Round Two games will be held at PETCO Park in San Diego, California and Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Semi-Finals and Final will take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California from March 21 through 23.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.