Baseball America

Team USA, Puerto Rico Face Elimination

BY WALTER VILLA

MIAMI—It’s do or die for both Team USA and Puerto Rico tonight in Pool 2 of the World Baseball Classic, and both managers have made a change in their starting lineups.

Team USA’s Joe Torre, still adjusting to Thursday’s injury to third baseman David Wright, will try Ben Zobrist at the hot corner. Zobrist has played 20 innings at third over four games (two starts) in the major leagues in his career. Willie Bloomquist got the emergency start on Thursday.

In addition, Shane Victorino will DH instead of Zobrist.

“It gives us probably a little more offense with Ben being a switch-hitter,” Torre said. “I didn’t want to drop it on (Zobrist) last night because I think he’ s played about four games in three years at third base, even though he played a few innings for us in Arizona at third. He’s willing to do anything for us.”

If the U.S. were to win tonight at Marlins Park, Padres third baseman Chase Headley has reportedly accepted an invitation to play for the Americans in the semifinals in San Francisco.

Headley won Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards last season, when he led the NL with 115 RBIs.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez has inserted Jesus Feliciano into his lineup in left field and as the second batter.

“He is coming off the flu and is doing OK,” Rodriguez said. “The change is because of Feliciano’s experience and ability. He knows how to handle the pressure of these types of games.”

Tonight’s pitching matchup of righthanders remains unchanged—Ryan Vogelsong for Team USA and Nelson Figueroa for Puerto Rico.

International | #International #World Baseball Classic

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