LAKELAND, Fla. — When the World Baseball Classic begins next week, the Tigers will be forced to adjust their roster to accommodate for the departing players.
Team Venezula claims the most Tigers, as four players will leave Lakeland to head to their home country. Those four constitute much of the Tigers core. Relievers Bruce Rondon and Francisco Rodriguez will be joined by sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
This leaves the Tigers without a former Triple-Crown winner, their designated hitter, and two of their best bullpen arms.
Playing for the United States are second baseman Ian Kinsler and pitchers Michael Fulmer and Alex Wilson.
While the Tigers will miss their stars, their absence provides an opportunity for younger, unproven players to demonstrate their talents. Meanwhile, those playing in the WBC will continue to round into shape for the season.