Back in November, news began surfacing on which Cubs were expected to participate in the second World Baseball Classic, scheduled for March 5 through March 23.
Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano had signed on at the time to play for the Dominican Team led by Stan Javier. Carlos Zambrano, according to a report from Cubs.com, had decided to sit out the second classic after participating in the first one before the 2006 season.
Lost by most in all of the news coming out of Las Vegas last week during the Winter Meetings was a blurb at the end of a report by Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune. According to the Tribune, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol are still slated to play, but four others have been added to the list to play for their countries while Carlos Zambrano has possibly shifted his stance.
According to the report in the Tribune, Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico), Kosuke Fukudome (Japan), Ryan Dempster (Canada), and Derrek Lee (USA), as stated, are expected to play, while Aramis Ramirez "is expected to decline an invitation to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic."
The Tribune stated the reason for Ramirez possibly sitting out of the second tournament is because of his routine and "he would probably be a backup anyway for Alex Rodriguez."
Carlos Zambrano "has not decided whether to play for Venezuela"...a different stance than the one just over a month ago.
Zambrano told Cubs.com in November, "He doesn't want to pitch in the 2009 event because he doesn't want to risk injury." Derrek Lee bruised his shoulder in the 2006 WBC, and several players that participated in the games three years ago came up with injuries during MLB's regular season.
In 2006 the Cubs had several players participate in the inaugural event...Derrek Lee, Carlos Zambrano, Henry Blanco, Michael Barrett, and Neifi Perez. Aramis Ramirez was slated to play but decided against it in late February.
As mentioned by the CCO in November, Sammy Sosa is slated to play in the WBC, and reports suggested during last season that Sosa would officially hang 'em up after the tournament is completed.
There has not been an official announcement from the Cubs on which players they will allow to participate in the WBC. Some teams were reluctant to allow their players to participate in the first WBC in 2006, and several players backed out of the game due to injury (or injury concerns) as the tournament approached.
Major League Baseball added a week to Spring Training this year in order to accommodate the World Baseball Classic.
Also posted on ChicagoCubsOnline.com