12 Astros players to take part in 'play-off like' atmosphere at World Baseball Classic in March

Adam Winkler Image
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
A dozen Astros players named to World Baseball Classic rosters
The WBC is less than three weeks away, just before Opening Day, but players told ABC13 that they are looking forward to the "playoff-like atmosphere".

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The World Series champion Houston Astros will open their regular season at the end of March. However, several team stars will play big-time games in less than three weeks.

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The 2022 World Champs will be well-represented in the World Baseball Classic.

There will be 20 teams participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic tournament, the first one since 2017. When games begin in less than three weeks, 12 Astros players will be taking part.

"We are trying to figure out how to get these guys ready and get them in shape for the WBC," Astros manager Dusty Baker explained. "I'll talk to each one of them about what they're going to need. I'll probably play them more early than I would've ordinarily."

The Astros had 12 players named to the 2023 World Baseball Classic rosters.

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More than any other country, six Astros players were named on the Dominican Republic's roster: Bryan Abreu, Ronel Blanco, Cristian Javier, Rafael Montero, Hector Neris, and Jeremy Peña. The Astros will have two players play for the United States - Ryan Pressly and Kyle Tucker - and two players on Team Venezuela - Jose Altuve, and Luis Garcia. The other Astros Major Leaguers scheduled to play in the WBC are José Urquidy (Mexico) and Martín Maldonado (Puerto Rico).

Each guy ABC13 talked to is thrilled to play in the prestigious tournament but knows it means extra work before the extra games.

"Playing in the WBC is like playing in playoff games in March," second baseman Jose Altuve noted. "So you have to get ready for that and to represent your country."

"We have practices and exhibition games before the real games start," outfielder Kyle Tucker pointed out. "I'm looking forward to it."

"It made me get going, move into camp nice and ready to go," pitcher Ryan Pressly admitted. "Just waiting around now to start playing some games."

Five Astros coaching staff members are also participating in the World Baseball Classic.

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