DUNEDIN, Fla. – The Canadian national team included Cincinnati Reds superstar Joey Votto on the World Baseball Classic roster it submitted ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, a boon for a lineup sure to appreciate his added thump.
The Toronto first baseman’s participation isn’t totally assured, as the Reds understandably want to monitor their $225 million man’s progress from knee surgery last summer between now and the start of the tournament early next month.
Assuming nothing changes, early signs suggest there’s no reason to believe it will, and all other insurance requirements are met, he’ll suit up for Canada when it opens against Italy on Mar. 8 in Arizona. A formal announcement of all 16 Classic clubs is expected later this week.
Word of Votto’s addition to the roster heartened his Canadian teammates.
“We were all wondering if the Reds would let him go, and we knew he wanted to play and the type of player he is,” said outfielder Adam Loewen, who is in camp with the Toronto Blue Jays. “He brings a quiet leadership to the locker-room, and there are a lot of leaders in that locker-room, everybody knows each other really well.
“He’s the glue in the lineup that you put in the three-hole, and you know he’s going to produce at some point.”