The Red Sox will have two cornerstone players representing their countries at the upcoming World Baseball Classic -- shortstop Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands) and designated hitter/first baseman Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic).
After months of speculation on which players would participate in the international showcase event, rosters were formally announced on MLB Network on Wednesday night.
The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez could also participate for Venezuela and southpaw reliever Fernando Abad has been selected to the Dominican Republic. However, both players are listed under the roster designation of DPP, which stands for designated pitcher pool.
Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool, which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers but can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those "active" designated pitchers can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another designated pitcher.
Once a designated pitcher has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round. Using Team USA as an example, Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark are the active designated pitchers for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other designated pitchers. And if a designated pitcher joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round, but only by another designated pitcher.
Rodriguez's availability for the World Baseball Classic remains in question for a couple of reasons. The first is that he tweaked his right knee during a winter ball start in late December. The second is that he is competing for a spot in the Red Sox's starting rotation.
Ramirez and Bogaerts both participated in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
"Just having a chance to play for your country is special and it's something that basically the whole world sees and it's special," said Ramirez, who hopes the Dominican Republic can repeat as champions.
For Bogaerts, this will be a much different experience than the last time, when he hadn't even played in the Major Leagues yet.
"I remember I was real young. I didn't know a lot," said Bogaerts. "I just went up there with a little information that I knew and tried to do my best. This year, I'm much better prepared. Hopefully I get going a bit quicker. I normally take a long time to get going. That's why Spring Training starts a bit earlier this year."
The Red Sox also have three Minor Leaguers on World Baseball Classic rosters. Left-hander Daniel McGrath is a designated pitcher selection for Australia. Ryan Duber also has that status for the Netherlands. Outfielder Mike Meyers will play for Israel.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.