Venezuela's slugger Pablo Sandoval reacts after hitting a solo home run against the Cardenales de Lara during the seventh game of Venezuela's championship series in Valencia, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013. Just three months after becoming the first Venezuelan to win the World Series MVP award, Pablo Sandoval is celebrating a new feat : the championship win of his team in Venezuela's professional league. (AP Photo/Edixon Gamez, Lider)
Venezuela is showing up with Major League Baseball’s best hitters.
Despite missing some of its best pitchers, Venezuela is heading into the World Baseball Classic with a big-hitting roster that features Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.
Marco Scutaro, Elvis Andrus and Omar Infante also will be in everyday lineup. Luis Sojo will manage the team from the baseball-crazed South American country.
"The most difficult part was undoubtedly selecting the names that should come with us," coach Carlos Miguel Oropeza said in a statement Thursday.
Venezuela will play the Dominican Republic in its WBC opener on March 7. Puerto Rico and Spain also are in the group that will compete in San Juan.
Venezuelan aces Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners and Johan Santana of the New York Mets — both former Cy Young winners — are not on the roster. Free agent Carlos Zambrano will be the team's No. 1 pitcher in the third edition of the WBC.
The hitters will be led by Cabrera and Sandoval.
Last year, Cabrera became baseball's first Triple Crown winner in 45 years. The Detroit Tigers star will be joined by Sandoval, the third baseman who played a key role in bringing the San Francisco Giants a World Series trophy last season.
Sojo, a former major league infielder, played for the New York Yankees in their championship seasons of 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Based on reporting by The Associated Press.