In addition to Mark Teixeira, who is playing for the United States, and Robinson Cano, who is playing for the Dominican Republic, it was reported on Thursday that five New York Yankees minor leaguers are leaving camp within the next two weeks to represent their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic.
Infielders Gil Velasquez and Walter Ibarra will both leave to play for Team Mexico, while ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte will play for Italy. Outfielder Melky Mesa and relief pitcher Juan Cedeno will be joining Cano on the Dominican Republic team.
Of the five minor leaguers leaving camp, only Mesa appeared to have any chance at a potential major league job. A right-handed hitting outfielder who got a brief taste of the big leagues last September, Mesa entered spring training as a long shot, but could have beaten out Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera with a strong performance in camp.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated that Teixeira would play in five of the first eight spring training games and Cano would play in six of the eight before leaving the club on March 3. Melky Mesa has already been announced as the starting center fielder for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener, and figures to get worked in regularly prior to leaving for the World Baseball Classic.
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