Canada to open 2013 World Baseball Classic against Italy
Italians dealt Canadians shocking 6-2 defeat in 1st round of 2009 WBC
Canada will get a chance to make up for its stunning defeat to Italy the last time the World Baseball Classic was held.
Canada will open its 2013 Classic schedule against the Italians on Match 8 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Canada failed to advance out of the first round in the first two Classics, suffering a shocking 6-2 defeat to Italy in Toronto the last time the tournament was held in 2009.
In the inaugural 2006 tournament Canada upset a star-studded American team 8-6 in the group stage, but failed to advance after a 9-1 loss to Mexico.
Canada's other first round games will take place at Chase Field in Phoenix on March 9 against Mexico and March 10 against the United States. At the completion of the first round, the top two teams in each pool will advance to the second round.
First-baseman Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins and third-baseman Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays have been named to Canada's provisional roster. The remainder of Canada's provisional roster will be announced in January.
"The popularity of baseball is growing in Canada, and I'm looking forward to playing in the World Baseball Classic again," said Morneau, a native of New Westminster, B.C. "There's something special about representing everyone back home, and proving that Canadian baseball is among the world's best."