Team USA has no time to get deflated over last night's 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic because tonight they face a must-win game against Puerto Rico. Team USA beat Team Puerto Rico on Tuesday, 7-1 behind the outstanding pitching of Gio Gonzalez and five RBI for David Wright. Neither one will play in this game.
Wright is out for the tournament with a strained rib cage. He can't be replaced until the next round, but should the US advance, early word is that Chase Headley is likely to take the spot of Captain America.
Instead, Team USA will start Ryan Vogelsong, who pitched four innings against Italy on Saturday and got the win after giving up two runs over four innings. He'll be opposed by Nelson Figueroa, who also pitched on Saturday and also allowed two runs over four innings in picking up the win against Venezuela.
The lineup for Team USA
Rollins SS, Phillips 3B, Braun LF, Mauer C, Stanton RF, Zobrist 3B, Hosmer 1B, Jones CF, Victorino DH
The big move here is having Ben Zobrist play third base, a position he's only played four times in the major leagues and nine times in the minors. But it gets his bat into the line-up instead of Willie Bloomquist, and there is a general belief that Zobrist can play anywhere. US Manager Joe Torre will put that last statement to the test tonight.
Puerto Rico will counter with
Pagan CF, Feliciano LF, Beltran DH, Y. Molina C, Aviles SS, Rios RF, Rivera 1B, Gonzalez 3B, Falu 2B
The game will be televised on the MLB Network.
Additionally, in WBC News, Team Netherlands is adding Jurickson Profar and Kenley Jansen to their roster for the finals.
Discuss among yourselves.