February 20, 2013
Votto added to Canadian roster for World Baseball Classic
By QMI Agency
Former National League MVP Joey Votto was added to Canada's roster for the World Baseball Classic before Wednesday's deadline.
But it's unclear how much the Cincinnati Reds first baseman will play in the tournament, if at all. Canada starts round-robin play March 8 against Italy in Phoenix.
"As far as playing, I'm going to have to wait until the day before to decide," Votto told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Because Votto spent time on the diaabled list last summer -- he had a torn meniscus in his left knee and missed all of August -- he must be cleared to play, according to tournament rules. The Reds also might want to protect the $225 million they invested when they signed the 2010 MVP to a 12-year contract less than a year ago.
Despite the uncertainty of his playing status, the inclusion of the Etobicoke, Ont., native boosted the spirits of his Canadian teammates.
"We were all wondering if the Reds would let him go, and we knew he wanted to play and the type of player he is," outfielder Adam Loewen told Sportsnet.ca. "He brings a quiet leadership to the locker room, and there are a lot of leaders in that locker room, everybody knows each other really well."
Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie and former AL MVP Justin Morneau were already on the Canadian roster.
An international incident was avoided but Taiwan was forced to apologize to South Korea this week after being caught spying on their World Baseball Classic rivals during a practice game in Dou Liou City, according to Yonhap News Agency, via Yahoo! Sports.
Four advance scouts from Taiwan, posing as trainee umpires, snuck into Dou Liou Stadium during a game between the South Korean national team and a club team, the NC Dinos. The umps, er, scouts then started timing how long it took for the Korean pitchers to throw to home plate, which gave them away.
"We had our suspicions because there seemed to be too many people in the umpires' room," one Korea Baseball Organization official told Yonhap. "They kept saying they were umpire trainees. But we later learned that they were really scouts and we ejected them from the stadium (in the fourth inning)."
The Chinese Professional Baseball League apologized to the KBO for the incident, which was apparently unathorized.
South Korea and Taiwan will play their WBC Pool B game on March 5.
STANTON SHAKEN UP
Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton took a pitch off the head Wednesday that left him and top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez shaken up.
Stanton was hit in the back of the helmet by a Fernandez fastball during a practice game in Jupiter, Fla. The outfielder left the game as a precaution and manager Mike Redmond said later that Stanton had a bruise on the back of his neck.
"It's a scary moment," said Fernandez, the Marlins' first-round draft pick in 2011. "My hands were sweating a lot. It was just not a good pitch. I feel bad. It's not a good feeling, I promise you."
Stanton finished second in the National League with 37 home runs last season. Fernandez is expected to start the year with Double-A Jacksonville.
Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price, the 2012 AL Cy Young winner and a probable free agent at the end of the coming season, doesn't see himself having a future with the New York Yankees.
And it's got nothing to do with money, which the Yankees could throw at him by the bucket if he goes to free agency.
No, it's more about personal freedom, or more to the point, his facial hair. The Yankees have a long-standing policy of not allowing players to grow beards and, well, Price isn't buying it.
"I wouldn't sign a long-term deal there," Price told FoxSports.com. "Those rules, that's old-school baseball. I was born in '85. That's not for me. That's not something I want to be a part of."
ALL IN GOOD FUN
Sounds like another comeback isn't in Roger Clemens' plans.
But the seven-time Cy Young award winner, now 50 years old and throwing for the first time in six months, got through a 20-minute batting practice session with the Houston Astros on Wednesday. Clemens, working as a special instructor for the Astros during spring training, threw to Carlos Pena, Rick Ankiel, Justin Maxwell, J.D. Martinez and Chris Carter.
"I got to face our big boys, and that was fun to see those guys and try and throw them some good batting practice," Clemens said on MLB.com. "Normally when I do that, it's for the hitters, and I want them to get their timing. I don't think I've been on the bump in eight months. That was fun."
Clemens threw fastballs and sliders at about 70% effort but tipped the hitters to what was coming. It was the first time he's thrown since pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters in September.
New York Yankees starter Michael Pineda pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence Wednesday in Tampa, Fla., and was ordered to do 50 hours of community service, attend DUI school and pay a $500 fine Pineda was charged in Tampa last August ... Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes has been shut down for two weeks due to a bulging disk in his back. Hughes will take anti-inflammatory medication during his time off in the hopes that will help him get over the injury ... The Cincinnati Reds won't allow pitcher Johnny Cueto play in the World Baseball Classic. Cueto wanted to play for the Dominican Republic but the Reds said no because he finiahed last season on the disabled list ... The Colorado Rockies would like to deal catcher Ramon Hernandez, according to FoxSports.com. Not as easy as it sounds, though: Hernandez is 36, was hurt last season and hit just .217 ... The Boston Red Sox acquired first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named. Carp will compete with Lyle Overbay to back up Mike Napoli ... Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost returned to work Wednesday after having his gallbladder removed the day before. Yost was absent from camp on Tuesday and no explanation was given ... The New York Mets confirmed that pitcher Jenrry Mejia is who he says he is and is, in fact, 23 years old. The Dominican righthander was unable to get his work visa until a MLB investigation into his identity and age were wrapped up. He's been cleared to join the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.