Quick notes on major league pitchers
who took part in Wednesday's WBC games, and subsequent eligibility for later
games based on WBC pitch count rules:
United States: Tough day for Dontrelle Willis (65 pitches). He's now
ineligible until Monday, and that's if the US advances to the second round. No
other US pitcher that went Wednesday threw 50 pitches or more, so that means
everyone on the US staff, except Willis, is eligible for the game against South
Africa on Thursday.
Think anyone from the Canadian and Mexican camps is thinking of rigging
Wednesday's game to kick the big bad Americans out of the tournament? If Mexico
wins 1-0 or 2-0, both Mexico and Canada advance and Team USA is eliminated.
Canada: Not only did Canada upset the US on Wednesday, they
successfully did so with their second-string bullpen. Adam Loewen threw 61
pitches, so he's ineligible until Monday. However, Canada has everyone on their
staff, except for past starters Loewen and Erik Bedard, eligible to back up Jeff
Francis against Mexico on Thursday night.
Mexico: Mexico also successfully used their B-team pitchers in their
win over South Africa. Therefore, everyone but past starters Rodrigo Lopez and
Mexican League star Francisco Campos (56 pitches in his start on Wednesday) can
pitch against Canada on Thursday. Esteban Loiaza starts against Canada, with
Oliver Perez available in long relief.
Puerto Rico: Joel Pineiro threw 56 pitches in his start against the
Dutch on Wednesday night. He's now ineligible until Monday, but other that
Pineiro and Javy Vazquez, everyone else on the Puerto Rican staff can go against
Cuba on Friday. They're likely to have clinched a second round berth before they
take the field, and may use a "staff" approach to the Cuba game as a result in
order to keep everyone eligible for the next round.
Panama: Bruce Chen threw 50 pitches against Cuba on Wednesday; he's
ineligible until Monday, but Panama likely will be eliminated before then.
Venezuela: Both Freddy Garcia (61 pitches, struck out Mike Piazza
twice) and Carlos Silva (55) topped the 50-pitch mark against Italy, so both are
ineligible until Monday. For Thursday's game against Australia, the Venezuelans
have four ineligible pitchers (Garcia, Silva, Johan Santana and Carlos
Zambrano), but they do get Victor Zambrano back. Kelvim Escobar and Gustavo
Chacin will serve as the tandem starters against Australia. They'll advance with a win, which seems pretty likely.
Dominican Republic: All pitchers except Bartolo Colon are eligible
against Italy on Thursday. They'll advance with a win as well.
Italy: Lenny DiNardo of the Red Sox threw 54 pitches; he's ineligible
until Monday, but Italy likely will be eliminated before then.