Will Smith became the latest member of the Los Angeles Dodgers who is participating in the 2023 World Baseball Classic. The Team USA roster includes his Dodgers teammate, Mookie Betts, and Dino Ebel is part of the coaching staff as well.
The United States are going to be led by first-year manager Mark DeRosa. In addition to Ebel, the Team USA coaching staff includes bench coach Jerry Manuel, pitching coach Andy Pettitte, hitting coach Ken Griffey Jr., first base coach Lou Collier and bullpen coach Dave Righetti.
Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler committed to suit up for Team USA in the 2021 World Baseball Classic before the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This marks Smith’s first time playing for an official Team USA group at any level. Their entire 28-man roster will not be announced until the offseason, and it has to include 13 pitchers and two catchers. The United States has already satisfied the requirement at catcher with Smith and Philadelphia Phillies backstop J.T. Realmuto.
Team USA is in Pool C that plays at Chase Field, from March 11-15. Their title defense starts against Canada, Colombia, Mexico and a to-be-determined qualifying team. The Pool C winner and runner-up will advance to the WBC quarterfinals being held in Miami from March 17-18. They will face the winner and runner-up from Pool D.
Team USA approaching Smith to be part of their roster is well-deserved recognition that has largely escaped him so far. Smith has been more than deserving to be selected to the past two All-Star Games, only to be left off the National League team both times.
Despite the slights, Smith has denied finding added motivation in not being named to an All-Star Game thus far.
Will Smith participated in Dodgers Love LA Community Tour
Last week, Smith, Justin Turner and Ebel were among those to welcome an all-girls baseball club to Dodger Stadium for a day of learning and youth Home Run Derby.
“It was really cool. It was a really good opportunity. I think there were girls as young as 4 or 5 years old, and up to high school that were involved,” Smith told DodgerBlue.com. “They were doing some drills with coaches, then J.T. and I went out there, took some pictures, signed a bunch of stuff for them and did a couple Home Run Derbies.
“It was pretty impressive, the quality of swings they had and how good they were. They got some really good instruction and are some pretty good ballplayers.”
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