HAVANA.- (ACN) The appointment of Carlos Martí as manager of the team attending the 4th World Baseball Classic (WBC) is today the main novelty in Cuba´s sport world, in addition to know the pre-selection of 50 players to the contest.


We will go to that tournament with great enthusiasm. We will fight in every  match, and will give our best. It is a great responsibility to take the reins of the team to the WBC, remarked the head coach, who a few days ago won the title in the National Series with Granma squad.

He warned that the group of Cuba is very strong, but there are possibilities to advance to the second round'.

Japan is the favorite; Australia always plays too good against us; and China is the weakest team of our poole. We must beat the latter two to ensure our presence in the second round, explained the 67-year-old manager.

Cuba will play the first round as part of group B, along with Japan, China and Australia, based at the Japanese stadium Tokyo Dome.

The first two of this poole will advance to the second stage along with the two leaders of group A, that will gather in South Korea to the host side, Taiwan, Holland and Israel.

When analyzing the results of Cuba in the last edition of the Classic, in 2013, Martí was emphatic and left no room for doubt.

Cuba did not trained well that time, got there without many international matches, without competing at top level, he stressed.

On this occasion, Cuba plans to travel to Asia on February 17 to play 10 training matches: four in Chinese Taipei, three in South Korea and three in Japan.

A priori, the pitchers chosen to act as starters are right-handers Lazaro Blanco, Vladimir García and Freddy Asiel Álvarez, with Vladimir Baños as a possible fourth starter.

Today it was known that the National Baseball Commission called catcher  Yosvani Alarcón - one of the most important hitters in the country - for the national pre-selection of 50 players, despite not entirely complying the sanction he still serves due to indiscipline.

There were also summoned up veteran Frederich Cepeda, second basemen Dainier Gálvez and Carlos Benítez, shortstop Yordan Manduley, outfielders Leonardo Urgellés and Roel Santos, as well as pitchers Noelvis Entenza, Dachel Duquesne and Frank Medina.

These 10 players join catchers Frank Camilo Morejón, Osvaldo Vázquez and Ariel Martínez; first basemen William Saavedra, Guillermo Avilés and Yordanis Samón, second baseman Juan Carlos Torriente; third basemen Yurisbel Gracial, Yeniet Pérez and Jefferson Delgado; and shortstops Yorbis Borroto and Alexander Ayala.

The outfielders are Edilse Silva, Denis Laza, Alfredo Despaigne, Yoelkis Céspedes, Victor Mesa and Julio Pablo Martínez, while Raúl González and Yunior Paumier will be the utility players.

In addition to Blanco, Álvarez, García, Baños, Entenza, Duquesne and Medina, Yoanni Yera (L), Alaín Sánchez, Raidel Martínez, Robelio Carrillo (L), Yasmany Hernández, César García, José Ángel García, Liván Moinelo (L), Miguel Lahera, Yoelkis Cruz, Leomil González, Jonder Martínez 
and Yosvani Torres were also called to ranks.

The definitive roster of 28 players will be revealed next February 6th.Cuba will debut on March 6th against Japan and then will face China and Australia, in that order.