World Baseball Classic: Why Mookie Betts Is Wearing No. 3 With Team USA

Players for Team USA reported for practice this week, which included Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts and Will Smith joining others in preparing for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

The two Dodgers players join a star-studded Team USA roster that is among the favorites to win the WBC, which would be defending their title.

The roster is headlined by team captain Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels, with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado (St. Louis Cardinals), J.T. Realmuto, Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber (Philadelphia Phillies), Pete Alonso (New York Mets), Cedric Mullins (Baltimore Orioles) and Kyle Tucker (Houston Astros) among the many elite players on the team.

However, with so many players from different organizations, there is some overlap with the numbers they traditionally wear. That affected Betts and Adam Wainwright, which forced the right fielder to wear No. 3 instead of his usual No. 50 that is being worn by the long-time Cardinals ace.

Betts chose to wear No. 3 because it’s the same number he wore when playing high school basketball, according to Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times:

With a stacked outfield on Team USA, Betts is expected to play some of his games at second base during the tournament. The only other player with second base experience on their roster are Jeff McNeil and Trea Turner, who is likely to be the starting shortstop.

It would make sense for Team USA to utilize Betts in a platoon with McNeil, while giving the Dodgers All-Star starts in right field against right-handed pitchers and at second base against left-handers.

As for Team USA’s No. 50, he is expected to be the starter for Game 1 of the tournament. Wainwright was pushed into their top spot when Clayton Kershaw, Nestor Cortes, Logan Webb and Nathan Eovaldi opted out for various reasons.

Team USA’s first exhibition game is scheduled for Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants, with another against the Los Angeles Angels the following day.

They will play their first game in the 2023 WBC on Saturday, March 11, when they face off against Great Britain. That is followed by matchups with Mexico and Canada the following two days, and against Colombia on March 15.

Mookie Betts ‘super excited’ for World Baseball Classic

Trout and Betts have long been considered two of the best players in baseball, and the duo will finally get to show off their talents together in the World Baseball Classic.

Betts shared his excitement to be playing in the tournament and was humbled to be asked by Trout to join the squad.

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