MIAMI—Manager Ernie Whitt wishes more Canadian big-leaguers were willing to play at the World Baseball Classic.
Whitt spoke about his roster struggles shortly after being eliminated from the WBC following an 8-0 loss to the U.S. yesterday.
“For us to compete at this level, we have to have all of our professional players,” he stressed.
“We can't put our roster up against teams like the Dominican and the United States if we don't have all of our big-league players.”
The Canadians went 0-3 and have never advanced beyond the opening round.
Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered and drove in three runs apiece to help Team USA shake off a deflating defeat and earn a berth in the second round.
The Americans finished 2-1 in pool play and rebounded after blowing a five-run lead Saturday in losing 7-5 to the Dominican Republic.
“Good teams know how to turn the page,” reasoned manager Jim Leyland.
“The expectations for the USA are high and it's a thrill to get out of here,” he added.
“It wasn't easy.”
The U.S. is trying for a WBC breakthrough after failing to reach the final in the three previous events.
“We're taking it real serious,” Arenado said.
“We're representing our country. It's not just a walk in the park.”
The Dominicans also advanced to the second round in San Diego by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings yesterday.
The Dominicans, who won the 2013 tournament, finished 3-0 in the first round.
The Americans have perhaps their best roster ever, including strong pitching, and Danny Duffy became the third-straight U.S. starter to turn in a scoreless outing.
He struck out seven in four innings, and the only baserunners against him were Jonathan Malo and Peter Orr on consecutive two-out singles in the third.
Duffy, Chris Archer, and Marcus Stroman combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings in their starts.
“We feed off each other," Duffy said. "Archer and 'Stro' set the table, and I was just trying to follow suit.”
Canada starter Ryan Dempster, who came out of retirement to pitch in the WBC, recorded just one out and was charged with three runs.
Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double in the first inning to put the Americans ahead, and another run scored on Posey's groundout—easing the bitter aftertaste of the loss to the Dominicans.
“That was such an emotional game and hard-fought game,” Hosmer noted.
"It was important for us to get off to a good start.
“From this point on the tournament gets tougher and tougher,” he added.
“We came here and took care of business, and we're going to be ready for San Diego.”