Toronto Blue Jays' knuckler R.A. Dickey is on the mound for Team USA tonight as they play their first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic against Mexico in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. No Nationals involved in this one, but plenty of MLB stars on display... Who's Watching the WBC?
It would have been nice to watch Washington Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa playing for Mexico when they take on Team USA and New York Mets' knuckler R.A. Dickey tonight at 9:00 pm EST in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. The 25-year-old infielder was on Mexico's roster, but made the decision to concentrate on building strength in his shoulder in Grapefruit League action with the defending NL East Champions after learning once last season ended that he had suffered a torn rotator cuff while he played out the last few weeks of the 2012 campaign. Instead we got to watch Espinosa go 1 for 2 this afternoon in the Nats' 16-10 loss to the same St. Louis Cardinals who knocked the Nationals out in five games in last October's NLDS.
Espinosa's now 9 for 27 with two doubles, two walks and seven Ks in 10 games this Spring. But he won't be playing in the World Baseball Classic, so he can't help Mexico try to come back from last night's not-so-devastating-after-they-beat-Canada-today-too loss to the upstart Italian team led by former Dodgers and Mets' catcher Mike Piazza. The Italians shocked Mexico with a comeback last night and then beat Canada 14-4 this afternoon.
Nationals fans will have to wait until tomorrow to see anyone from the nation's capital in action. Ross Detwiler's reportedly second in line on the mound after San Francisco Giants' starter Ryan Vogelsong.
There are a few familiar names in tonight's game that Nats and baseball fans in general will recognize. Marco Estrada, who made 15 appearances for the Nationals in 2008 and 2009 hasn't pitched yet for Mexico, so he could pop up at some point. Oliver Perez, who kicked around in the Nats' system in 2011 is on the Mexican roster too.
Detwiler and Gio Gonzalez, who's scheduled to pitch on March 12th assuming the USA makes it to the second round, are the only Nationals on the US roster. While there are no Nationals involved with tonight's game, the lineup for Team USA should fun to watch.
• Here's Joe Torre's lineup for Team USA's first WBC game of 2013:
Game Time 9:00 EST from Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. We'll be following along here...