Pujols recovery tangles WBC participation

In a report published on Monday by ElHeraldo.com.co, a Barranquilla, Colombia newspaper, Stan Javier, the general manager of the Dominican Republic team for the World Baseball Classic, was quoted as saying that St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is one of six of his country’s players that may be out of the games due to recovery from injury.

Javier, a former major league player and son of former Cardinals second baseman Julian Javier, was interviewed on the Dominican Republic’s Channel 13’s “Sports Week” on Sunday. El Heraldo apparently picked up that report, which includes direct quotes attributed to Javier. The other Dominican players mentioned are David Ortiz, Fausto Carmona, Francisco Liriano, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Pena.

I should reinforce that this news should be considered unofficial and has not yet been verified. At times in the past, news reports out of the Caribbean have been erroneous. The telephone-like chain in this case adds to the risk.

We may know very soon, however. At 6 pm EDT today, Monday, provisional rosters for each of the 16 countries participating in the WBC will be released. These 45-man rosters are not the final 28 players that will be active for each team in the tournament. That list is not due until February 24. However, the final 28 must be selected from the 45-man provisional lists.

In Pujols’ specific case, he is speaking this afternoon at the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-up fan event in St. Louis and I hope to confirm or refute his part of the report later today.

The second World Baseball Classic will run from March 5-23.

(1/19, 3:15 pm CST): Speaking at WWU, Pujols acknowledged there is an insurance-related hold up over him (and others) coming off injury. However, he reiterated his excitement about playing in the WBC.

One would think that if the players want to play, these issues will be resolved.

Pujols said that he is already hitting but hasn’t thrown yet, and will not do so until spring camp. If he feels any twinge in the elbow, he will pull out of the WBC.

Update #2
(1/19 6:00 pm CST): Here is a first look at provisional WBC rosters. I will add others as I get them. Remember that not all these guys will necessarily play.

USA: Ryan Ludwick
Puerto Rico: Joel Pineiro, Yadier Molina
Dominican Republic: Albert Pujols

Update #3
(1/19 6:45 pm CST): Matthew Leach has all the details: link. He thinks Pujols may not play after all, and Ludwick will decline.

“The provisional rosters also include five Cardinals Minor Leaguers. Pitcher Blake Hawksworth is on the Canadian roster, infielder Curt Smith is on the Dutch roster, and infielder Isa Garcia and pitcher Arquimedes Nieto are on the Venezuelan roster. Pitcher Adam Ottavino is on the Italian provisional roster.”

Update #4
(1/20 6:30 am CST): Joe Strauss fills in the insurance liability details. To their credit, the original Colombian/Dominican report was right on, in Pujols case at least.

Update #5
(1/20 1:30 pm CST) This is taking on a life of its own. An ESPN Deportes report in Spanish notes the first wave of Dominican players have arrived in camp in Jupiter, including Big Papi. Stan Javier is quoted as saying that Pujols and A-Rod are expected around the 27th or 28th. No mention of the insurance issue, though…