Cuba’s Lineup for First WBC Game

HAVANA TIMES, March 8 — Peter Bjarkman is on the scene at Foro Sol Stadium in Mexico City for Cuba’s first game in World Baseball Classic II. He just reported in with Cuba’s starting lineup, which has been the subject of much discussion.

During five practice games in Puebla, Mexico manager Higinio Velez tried five different lineups giving all his players a chance to show their best.

Against South Africa, Team Cuba will lead off with second baseman Hector Olivera; Michel Enriquez will be the DH batting second and Frederich Cepeda playing left field and batting third.

A surprise was seeing third baseman Yulieski Gourriel as the clean-up hitter, followed by first baseman Alexander Malleta, Alfredo Despaigne is sixth in right field, Yoennis Cespedes seventh in center field, and veterans Ariel Pestano (C) and Eduardo Paret (SS) batting eighth and ninth.

Bjarkman reports that Cuba’s starting pitcher is veteran Norge Luis Vera, known for his excellent control and ability to move the ball around the plate.

To read the Havana Times WBC diary direct from Mexico City, click on: Peter C. Bjarkman’s WBC Diary