Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina will play for his native Netherlands in the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March beginning in Japan and Taiwan.
In 2012, Bernadina hit .291 with 15 stolen bases in 2012, and continued to be a critical utility player for Davey Johnson, as the Nationals won their first ever NL East title.
In a release, World Baseball Classic, Inc. today announced the final pool compositions, which include qualifier winners Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei and Spain, and the full tournament schedule for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, which will begin on March 2 in Fukuoka, Japan, and Taichung, Taiwan. In addition, each of the 16 competing countries and territories announced two players who have committed early to compete in the Classic.
Pool A, which will be played at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome from March 2-6, will include Brazil, China, Cuba and Japan. The opening game at the venue on March 2 will feature two-time defending champion Japan versus newcomer and qualifier Brazil at 7 p.m. (all times local).
Pool B will feature the countries of Australia, Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan, from March 2-5. The opening game on March 2 will be played at 12:30 p.m. between 2009 finalist Korea and the Netherlands.
The event goes until March 19.
The winners and runners-up from each of the second round pools will advance to the championship round at AT&T Park in San Francisco from March 17-19.
So that is a good chunk of spring training that Bernadina could miss if Netherlands plays well, and with the addition of Denard Span and other changes, it will be interesting to see how the event plays out for Bernadina as the Nationals hold spring training at the same time.
But the Nationals know what they have in Bernadina and he is a veteran, so it should not take anything away from his status. After all, every other major leaguer that plays in the event will also have to be excused from spring training games for that time period.