The Baltimore Orioles organization came a long way in 2012 by ending their 14 consecutive losing seasons streak and making the playoffs for the first time since 1997 and now they have nine organizational players on World Baseball Classic provisional rosters for this spring's 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The Orioles 2012 Gold Glove winner and All-Star center fielder Adam Jones headlines the group of nine as he will patrol center field for team USA. Jones will anchor a star studded outfield with Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun and Miami Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton as well as Boston Red Sox OF Shane Victorino as the fourth outfielder. Jones will be on a team that only has four players (Braun, Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, and David Wright) returning from the 2009 team that lost in the semi-finals to Japan. USA will hope the third time is the charm as they have yet to even make the finals in a World Baseball Classic.
Along with Jones, eight other organizational players are on provisional rosters for their respective countries: P Luis Ayala (Mexico), P Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic), IF Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands), C Chris Robinson (Canada), OF Tim Smith (Canada), C Allan de San Miguel (Australia), P Rafael Moreno (Brazil), and P Jonatan Isenia (Netherlands).
Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was offered a roster spot for team Mexico, but he turned down the offer, favoring a full spring training instead, stating on Orioles official website:
"Obviously this is more important than me going down there," said Gonzalez. "This is my first big league Spring Training. I'll be focused on doing my stuff here first. It was a tough decision, but you always have to think about what's going to happen in the long run. So I think it's more important for me to be with the team."
"I think it's going to be an experience of a lifetime," Jones said. "This is an All-Star contest. It's the Olympics, basically. Team USA is trying to get the best players they can. I know the Japanese take tremendous pride in whooping everybody's butt the first two [competitions], so, USA, let's go."
Hopefully 2013 will be the charm for team USA, and they will open up play on March 8 against Mexico in the Arizona bracket that includes USA, Mexico, Canada and Italy. The World Baseball Classic Championship game is scheduled for March 19 in San Francisco, and hopefully we will be seeing Adam Jones shining in center field.
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