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In exactly two months, the 2017 World Baseball Classic will begin with pool play at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. The other three pools open in the following days.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, purveyor of all things WBC, a new regulation allows teams to add pitchers to their roster after each round this year. That means clubs will be able to bolster their pitching staffs with aces who wish to spend the start of spring practice with their MLB clubs jerseys.
There are three rounds in the WBC, so advancing clubs can add two pitchers after the end of the first round, then another two after the end of the second round. The WBC teams start with a 28-man roster, which means the four teams that advance to the final round will finish the tournament with 32-man rosters.
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Team USA in especially must love this new regulation. They’ve been recruiting Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner, and now they can agree them to start spring training with the Dodgers and Giants, respectively, before joining the WBC for a start (or two). The Championship Round is at Dodger Stadium. How cool would Kershaw pitching for Team USA at Dodger Stadium be?
As it stands, the Team USA’s rotation includes Max Scherzer, Chris Archer, and Marcus Stroman. Danny Duffy is also on the roster and could be the fourth starter.
Of course, other clubs could benefit from the new regulation too. Team Japan could, for example: recruit Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka to pitch in the second or third round, should they advance. Neither pitcher is among the confirmed players on Japan’s roster at the moment.