The Dallas Morning News

More stars compete in Classic

Trout leads seven former MVPS on team rosters for tournament


Nolan Arenado wants the World Baseball Classic to grow into a global event with stature approachin­g soccer’s World Cup.

“I feel like the hype is a little bit higher this time around than it was in 2017. There’s more guys that want to do it,” the St. Louis third baseman said ahead of this year’s tournament. “I know it’s not the World Cup, but just watching the World Cup and how awesome that was just to represent your country ... I don’t know if it will get quite there, but get it close at least.”

Baseball’s top internatio­nal championsh­ip opens Wednesday

at Taichung, Taiwan, when the Netherland­s plays Cuba and Panama faces Taiwan in a Group A that also includes Italy.

Group B of the expanded 20-nation field starts the following day in Tokyo, with Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan and South Korea competing for two quarterfin­al berths. Group C begins Saturday in Phoenix, featuring the defending champion U.S., Canada, Colombia and Mexico, Group D starts the same day in Miami, where the Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela compete.

“Last WBC, I was kind of on the fence of doing it and not doing it, and when I decided not to do it, watching the games, I kind of regretted I didn’t do it,” said Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, a three-time MVP who leads the U.S. roster. “It looked like they were having so much fun.”

Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani of Japan, and Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve, both from Venezuela, are among seven Major League Baseball MVPS on 30man rosters. There are 63 Allstars, after Nestor Cortes, Nathan Eovaldi, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Clayton Kershaw, Alejandro Kirk and German Márquez dropped out and Alex Colomé and Gregory Soto were added.

First- and second-place teams in each group advance to the knockout stage, with quarterfin­als to be played in Tokyo on March 15 and 16, and in Miami on March 17 and 18. The semifinals will be in Miami on

March 19 and 20, and the championsh­ip is at Marlins Park on March 21 — nine days before opening day of the MLB season.

Nations play up to seven games.

Japan won the first two WBCS in 2006 and 2009, followed by the Dominican Republic in 2013. The United States’ 8-0 win over Puerto Rico in the 2017 championsh­ip game was seen by 2.3 million on MLB Network plus an additional 800,000 on ESPN Deportes and a Spanish-language simulcast on ESPN2.

Fox and its related networks have U.S. television rights this year, a tournament delayed two years because of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Boston’s Turner injured: Boston Red Sox infielder Justin

Turner needed 16 stitches, but appeared to avoid any broken bones, after he was hit in the face by a pitch during Monday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.

The 38-year-old Turner fell to the ground after getting hit by Detroit right-hander Matt

Manning as medical personnel rushed to the plate. He was bleeding and had a towel on his face as he walked off the field.

“He’s receiving treatment for soft tissue injuries, and is being monitored for a concussion,” the Red Sox said in a statement.

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