The inclusion of a baseball team from Cuba in the Independent Can-Am league is now a done deal.
Between June 9 and 30 Cuban ball players will display their talent on game fields in both Canada and the U.S. with one longer term goal in mind: to be at the very top of their game for the March 2017 IV World Baseball Classic.
The 28 member Cuban selection will be under the tutelage of 3 time National Series title winner Roger Machado, undoubtedly the best manager over the past five years.
Before going on to reflect on the versatility of the squad, of which the player attracting most interest is 18 year old outfielder Luis Robert Moirán, currently Cuba’s best prospect, Machado explained that his team “face an adjusted calendar with games in very close succession, which is why we will bring at least 14 pitchers”.
Machado said those selected were “the best players available in the country” at the moment.
The Cuban team will debut on June 9 against the Quebec Capitals and later face into a tight schedule of – in addition to an exhibition match a Japanese team -- 18 games against the Trois-Rivieres Aigles, the Ottawa Champions, the Sussex County Miners, Rockland Boulders and the New Jersey Jackals.
According to the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB in Spanish) Yordan Manduley, Roel Santos and Yurisbel Gracial will defend the Quebec Capitals and veterans Alexander Malleta and Donal Duarte will play with Ottawa Champions.
Even though their contracts are managed by the FCB, these players have been freed from their obligation to represent Cuba.
Other players on similar FCB contracts to foreign leagues, such as slugger Alfredo Despaigne, outfielder José Adolis García and reliever Héctor Mendoza, all signed in Japan, are also not named in the selection.
This same Cuban team will play in the two nation tie against the U.S. to be played on home turf between July 22 and 27.
The summer games and competitions should help improve the state of Cuban baseball in the short term and enhance the prospects for forthcoming international tournaments, including the 2006 founded World Classic, presently baseballs most important event.
Cuba’s best performance in the tournament was back in 2006, when having lost 6-10 in the final to a powerful Japanese selection that included in-form U.S. Major League stars Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka, they finished in second place.
The Cuban squad’s showing in Classics has since declined; they finished in sixth and fifth place in 2009 and 2013 respectively.Share on FB Share on TT