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Report: Royals' Chen will pitch for China in WBC

The SportsXchange

Bruce Chen will make a bit of history by changing nationalities this spring.

The Kansas City Royals left-hander will become the first major-leaguer to play for Team China in the World Baseball Classic, according to CBS Sports. The event is being held for the third time.

Chen pitched for Team Panama in the 2009 WBC. The 35-year-old journeyman was born in Panama, but he is of Chinese descent.

In 14 major league seasons, Chen has pitched for 10 teams. However, he appears to have found a home in Kansas City, where he's been a double-digit winner each of the past three seasons. His only previous 10-plus-win year came in 2005, when he went 13-10 with a 3.83 ERA for the Baltimore Orioles.

Last year, Chen went 11-14 with a 5.07 ERA in 34 starts for the Royals. He is entering the second year of a two-year, $9 million contract.

China opens WBC play in a round-robin group with Japan, Cuba and Brazil. All games in that group will be played March 2-6 in Fukuoka, Japan, meaning Chen will have to miss part of the Royals' spring training camp to travel to Asia.

The top two teams from Fukuoka advance to a second-round pool that runs March 8-12 in Tokyo. The semifinals and final will be played March 17-19 in San Francisco.
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