It’s official: Kyle Freeland will be playing for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The 16-team tournament returns for the first time since 2017 when the United States were crowned champions for the first time in four tries and the Denver native will help the Americans go for two in a row.
Freeland joins a Team USA roster already counts RHP Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals, LHP Nestor Cortes of the New York Yankees and RHP Merrill Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the starting rotation.
2B Trevor Story of the Boston Red Sox and 3B Nolan Arenado of the Cardinals will be reunited with Freeland for the first time since the trio were teammates with the Colorado Rockies from 2017-2020.
National League MVP 1B Paul Goldschmidt, three-time MVP OF Mike Trout, six-time All-Star OF Mookie Betts, and OF Kyle Tucker and RHP Ryan Pressley from the 2022 World Series Champion Houston Astros are some of the names who have already committed to the red, white and blue.
Freeland becomes just the sixth Rockie to represent Team USA and the first starting pitcher to do so. LHP Brian Fuentes and OF Matt Holliday in 2006, C Chris Iannetta in 2009, and LHP Jake McGee and Arenado in 2017 have all participated in the past.
Additional members of the Rockies’ organization who have committed to other countries in 2023 include Germán Márquez with Team Venezuela, Elias Díaz with Team Colombia, Jake Bird with Team Isreal, and Justin Lawrence with Team Panama.
The World Baseball Classic began in 2006 before holding the international tournament in 2009 and scheduling the event every four years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 WBC was postponed for two years until this upcoming March.
The 2023 WBC begins on March 8 with Pool A beginning in Taichung, Taiwan. Pool B starts a day later on March 9 in Tokyo, Japan while Pool D opens play on March 11 in Miami, FL.
Manager Mark DeRosa leads Team USA to their first Pool C matchup on March 11 in Phoenix, AZ against Great Britain, who qualified by going 3-0 during qualifications in Germany in September.
Chase Field in Phoenix will host all 10 Pool C games between March 11-15 before teams shift to LoanDeport Park in Miami for the second round. Once the top two teams from Pool A and B are determined, they will join the top two teams from Pool C and D for the final three games of the tournament in South Florida, including the championship game on March 21.
Japan is the only team to win consecutive titles in 2006 and 2009. Dominican Republic snapped the streak in 2013 before Team USA took the gold in 2017.