Justin Morneau to miss Canada's Olympic baseball qualifier

One-time American League all-star outfielder Michael Saunders highlights Canada's roster for the upcoming WBSC Premier12 after former AL MVP Justin Morneau was forced to withdraw from the tourney due to injury.

Former AL MVP suffers injury in training; 11 Canadian players have MLB experience

Former American League MVP Justin Morneau recently suffered a setback in training and will miss the upcoming WBSC Premier12 tournament in Seoul, South Korea. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/File)

One-time American League all-star outfielder Michael Saunders highlights Canada's roster for the upcoming WBSC Premier12.

Baseball Canada on Friday announced that former AL most valuable player and first baseman Justin Morneau is unable to participate in Seoul, South Korea, after suffering a setback in training. Outfielder Demi Orimoloye of Orleans, Ont., will replace him.

Morneau, whose career was derailed by concussion symptoms, retired in January 2018 after 1,603 hits and 247 home runs in 14 major league seasons. The native of New Westminster, B.C., also suited up for the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies, with whom he won a National League batting title in 2014.

Saunders, a 32-year-old outfielder from Victoria, was an all-star in 2016 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He last played in the majors in 2017.

Pre-tourney action begins Oct. 31

The 12-team, $5.2-million US Premier12 event, which runs Nov. 2-17, also serves as a 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifier. One spot goes to the highest-placed finisher from the Americas and one will be awarded to the highest finisher in the Super Round/Finals from the Asia/Oceania region.

The roster includes 11 players with major-league experience, including recent Blue Jays September call-up Dalton Pompey of Mississauga, Ont.

Team Canada will begin Premier12 preparations at Cellular Stadium in Okinawa, Japan with a two-game exhibition series against Japan on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, followed by a contest against the Industrial Yushu All-Stars on Nov. 3.

On Nov. 6, Team Canada will open Premier12 Group C play at the Gocheck Sky Dome in Seoul where it will face Cuba.

Fourteen members of the team helped Canada win silver this summer at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

With files from CBC Sports


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