A trio of Los Angeles Dodgers once seemingly poised to participate in the 2017 World Baseball Classic no longer appears as certain. Kenley Jansen confirmed he will not pitch for Team Netherlands, while Clayton Kershaw and Kenta Maeda are also expected to skip the annual WBC tournament, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated.
Jansen had previously voiced a desire to represent Netherlands in the international showcase, in contrast to Kershaw and Maeda who have remained mum on the topic. Speaking at the Winter Meetings last December, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club would support Maeda if he elected to pitch for Team Japan.
Previous reports indicated Kershaw was a likely option to represent the United States during the semifinals or final, which Dodger Stadium is hosting from March 20-22.
The possibility was established by the WBC implementing a new rule that allows for a pitcher pool to be formed for teams to add up to a pair of hurlers between rounds.
Kershaw is of course coming off a season in which he missed significant time due to a herniated disc in his back. Friedman cited health as a primary factor for player’s when considering whether or not to participate in the WBC.
“It depends so much on the pitcher and what’s going on from a health and training standpoint,” Friedman said during last week’s press conference at Dodger Stadium.
“I’m a big advocate of the WBC, I think it’s a really competitive environment that’s good for a lot of players. But so much of it comes down to each individual and what’s going on at that time.”
To this point the Dodgers are only slated to be represented in the WBC by Adrian Gonzalez (Mexico). It’s possible he’s joined by Julio Urias and/or Alex Verdugo. Yasiel Puig was hopeful to play for Mexico, though did not submit necessary paperwork.