The Ukiah Daily Journal

Webb pulls out from Team USA; Doval, Pederson will play

- By Evan Webeck

Logan Webb, the San Francisco Giants' rising homegrown ace, generated fanfare in December when it was announced that he had committed to pitch for Team USA in this spring's World Baseball Classic.

Webb, however, wasn't on the Team USA roster unveiled Thursday afternoon on MLB Network.

The exclusion of the Giants' young right-hander shouldn't come as too big of a surprise, after Webb politely declined to answer Wbc-related questions at fan fest last weekend. While it wasn't clear whether the decision came from Webb or the team, the Giants won't complain about less strain on Webb's valuable right arm — even if it does take away the enticing possibilit­y of Webb facing his teammates in their March 8 scrimmage at Scottsdale Stadium.

Joc Pederson (Israel) and Camilo Doval (Dominican Republic) could square off, though, as both will compete in the same pool in Miami as the Giants' lone major-league representa­tives in the tournament, which runs from March 7 to March 21. Minor leaguers Joey Marciano (Italy) and Jonathan Bermudez (Puerto Rico), who each pitched at Triplea Sacramento last season, will also suit up for their respective countries. According to MLB Trade Rumors' accounting, the only team with fewer participan­ts than the Giants' four is the Rangers, with three players.

Webb, 26, is coming off a season in which he set career highs in innings pitched and games started, with a 16-9 record and career-best 2.90 ERA, and has his sights set on reaching the 200-inning threshold this season. While Webb made his first Opening Day start last season, the Giants are expecting him to further ascend into their ace this season without a partner such as Carlos Rodón or Kevin Gausman atop the rotation.

Although it won't be Webb, Pederson and Doval give Giants fans a couple other reasons to tune in.

Doval will pitch for his native Dominican Republic, which features a stacked roster that includes 2022 NY Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, 2022 AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Rafael Devers and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The Dominican pitching staff also includes a pair of former Giants: Johnny Cueto and Jarlín García.

Pederson will also suit up for Team Israel, which will be based out of Miami for the entire of its run in the tournament, along with Doval and the Dominican squad, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Nicaragua. Pederson first played for Team Israel during the qualifying round back in 2013, but this will be his first appearance in the tournament itself.

“It was such a cool experience and such a good group of guys (in 2013) … when this one came around and it was in the States, it's just an honor that they asked me,” Pederson said last month on MLB Network. “I'm really excited to go out there with the group of guys and go out there and compete. I think we have a pretty tough bracket when I look at it.”

Team USA, which will train at the Giants' Papago Park facility in Arizona, is star-studded in its own right. Commitment­s from Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmid­t and Pete Alonso should blunt Webb's absence. Although it is notable that Webb would have been arguably the top starter on the Americans' staff, which is left to be headlined by Nestor Cortes, Merrill Kelly and Clayton Kershaw.

Although outfielder Luis González, a native of Hermosillo, Mexico, said at fan fest that he planned to participat­e, his name didn't appear on the roster of Team Mexico that was unveiled Thursday. Wilmer Flores and Thairo Estrada were also thought to be candidates to participat­e but were left off Venezuela's roster.

At plus-250, according to BETMGM, Team USA has the second-best odds to win the tournament, behind only the Dominican Republic (+200), and just ahead of Japan (+350). The Americans won the tournament for the first time in 2017 after Japan (2006, 2009) and the Dominican (2013) captured the first three titles.

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