Julio Urías became the latest Los Angeles Dodgers player to announce his commitment to playing in the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) as the left-hander will pitch in the tournament for Team Mexico.
“It’s going to be a very special thing for me and a very special moment for everybody to represent Team Mexico,” Urías said through a translator. “Mexico is everything for me, and to be able to represent the country, and like I’ve said before, when I pitch here at Dodger Stadium, I feel like it’s part of Little Mexico, and now I get to pitch amongst all my fans.”
Urías was previously excluded from the team in 2017, which left him disappointed. So now with the opportunity to play for Mexico in 2023, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is excited for his staff ace.
“I can’t appreciate what it means or how it feels to essentially represent a country every day you’re out there pitching for the Dodgers, but pitching for his people,” Roberts said.
“But an opportunity to represent his country, wearing the green and red and white, I think it’s something that will be a thrill for him and something he’ll remember forever. I’m just proud of him and I know he’s going to represent them well.”
Urías called it a dream come true and said his family is very excited for him to wear the Team Mexico jersey professionally after seeing him wear it as a child.
The 26-year-old has already accomplished a lot in his career, and Roberts believes this is just another feather in the cap of all his accomplishments. “And it comes with a lot of hard work,” Roberts added.
“They pick and choose very wisely to who represents their country and it just speaks to the character of Julio and the performance on the field. But he’s worked hard, overcome a lot of adversity. And he’s continuing to add to his accolades.”
Although Urías always keeps an even-keeled demeanor, Roberts is sure that Urias is excited for the opportunity. “I can only imagine, he doesn’t show his emotion very often,” Roberts said.
“But this is something that, you know, he’s playing for his country, so I just don’t know how we get much more real and emotional than that. So I know he’s thrilled and honored and he’s going to do right by them. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be fun to watch.”
Dodgers participating in the World Baseball Classic
Along with Urías, the Dodgers are sending multiple other players to represent their country in the WBC. Mookie Betts, Will Smith and Trea Turner committed to joining Team USA while Freddie Freeman will compete with Team Canada.
“It’s going to be good for them,” Roberts said. “It’ll obviously be a different look as far as our Spring Training, but I think it’ll be good in the sense that they’ll get ramped up, compete, and then when they get back with us, we can kind of slow things down a little bit to get them ramped up again, but I’m all for it.
“It’ll also give us opportunities to look at some other guys too.”
Dodgers Third base coach Dino Ebel is also part of the Team USA coaching staff.
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