Miami – Of the 24 games Venezuela have played in World Baseball Classic history ahead of Saturday’s game against the Dominican Republic at Loan Park in Miami, Miguel Cabrera has been in the starting lineup in 23 of them. The only exception was the last meeting of the Venezuelans in the 2017 Classic, a game vs. Puerto Rico already eliminated.
In other words, in each of the matches in which Venezuela had something at stake in the WBC, since its debut against the Dominicans themselves in the inaugural edition of 2006, the managers of the chosen team (Luis Sogo in 2006, 2009 and 2013 and Omar Vizquel in 2017) have written The Cabrera name has always been at the heart of the line-up.
The streak ended Saturday when Venezuela coach Omar Lopez delivered an order that included Jeleber Torres, the Yankees’ 26-year-old second baseman, as DH and fifth. Cabrera, who was preparing for what he announced would be his last season in the major leagues and who turns 40 next month, was benched.
“It’s not easy to leave Miguel Cabrera (in the bank), it’s very difficult,” Lopez admitted during a press conference two hours before the commitment began.
López explained that Cabrera, as part of an agreement with the Detroit Tigers so he could join Venezuela, could only start two of the first four games they would play in the first round. From there, the pilot and his training staff decided when to use it.
And the manager continued, explaining: “I had to distribute (Cabrera’s presence) according to the capabilities of the teams that we will face, according to the openings that we will face.” “That’s one of the main reasons he’s not here.”
Lopez added that Cabrera will be in the starting line-up for Sunday’s match against Puerto Rico. It can also be used coming off the bench on the same Saturday.
“I told him in advance what games I would play. We agreed, we talked. He can come into the game as a pinch hitter,” added the pilot. “And we will teach him in what position he can present himself today (Saturday) so that he can prepare and prepare as an emerging player.”
“Miggy” has come in every edition of the World Baseball Classic, and is second in tournament history with six batters, one behind Cuban Alfredo Despin.
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