Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays playing in WBC: Ben Zobrist, Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jose Molina

Tampa Bay fans may not have much rooting interest in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but they will have reason to pay attention as four key Rays were named to their national teams.

Infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist is set to play for Team USA, catcher Jose Molina for Puerto Rico and relievers Fernando Rodney and Joel Peralta for the Dominican Republic, based on provisional rosters released Thursday.

All are expected to report to Port Charlotte when the Rays open camp in mid February then leave at the end of month to join their national teams to prep for the March 7-19 tourney.

"It's an incredible honor," Zobrist said on a conference call. "For me, it's one of my career goals, my career dreams is to be able to play for Team USA in the WBC. … It's just such a distinct honor to represent your country in any way, especially a country like ours."

Though the Rays have never seemed comfortable with the WBC process — especially involving starting pitchers — they are understanding.

"It's one of those things that certainly helps advance the game," executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "There are certain times when we have to think beyond the narrow scope of the Tampa Bay Rays."

Though four key players (plus minor-league infielder Leonardo Reginatto for Brazil) will miss a chunk of spring training, it could have been more. Ace David Price said he wouldn't be ready in time to pitch for Team USA (full roster, 6C), and third baseman Evan Longoria is unavailable due to his hamstring surgery.

Zobrist, who has plotted changes in his offseason workouts to get his swing up to game speed earlier, said he was excited about the camaraderie and the competition. Not so much facing Peralta or Rodney.

"I wouldn't be looking forward to that," he said. "I know how good they are."


• Negotiations with arbitration eligibles Sam Fuld, Matt Joyce, Jeff Niemann and Ryan Roberts can continue until the exchange of figures today at 1 p.m. Settlements usually happen. If not, under team policy, they cease talks and proceed to a hearing next month.

• Senior adviser Don Zimmer, who turned 82 Thursday, will make only limited appearances in spring training. Zimmer said he is feeling good but is concerned about the complications of relocating his home dialysis equipment to Port Charlotte so instead will make occasional day trips.

BoSox-Napoli deal: The Red Sox and catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli agreed to shorten their deal to one year for $5 million, according to multiple reports. Napoli initially agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal in December, but the team discovered an issue with his hip. Also, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year deal.

Rangers lock up all-star: The Rangers finalized a $55 million, five-year contract with All-Star left-hander Matt Harrison. The deal includes a 2018 club option.

Astros: Outfielder Rick Ankiel, 33, agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Brewers: Outfielder Carlos Gomez agreed to a $4.3 million, one-year contract.

Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter and vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette signed extensions through 2018.

Yankees: Reliever Joba Chamberlain agreed to a one-year contract worth $1,875,000. … Third baseman Alex Rodriguez had relatively minimal cartilage damage in his left hip during surgery this week, the Associated Press reported.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Rays playing in WBC: Ben Zobrist, Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jose Molina 01/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 18, 2013 12:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
  5. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.