Ryan Braun commits to World Baseball Classic

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

Ryan Braun apparently had such a great time representing the United States in the 2009 World Baseball Classic that he's planning on coming back for the 2013 tournament. The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder told a Wisconsin radio station on Monday that his powerful bat will be available to U.S. manager Joe Torre when competition gets underway in early March.

From the Journal Sentinel:

In an interview Monday night on the "Rupina's Hot Stove Weekly" on SportsRadio WSSP 1250, Braun said he already had started his baseball workouts this offseason to be ready for the WBC. Braun played for Team USA in the last WBC in 2009.

“I actually started my baseball activities a little bit earlier than I usually do because I’m going to play in the World Baseball Classic this year," Braun said in that interview. "So, I have to get myself prepared a little sooner, a little quicker than I usually do.”

Braun was part of the 2009 team that lost to Japan in the semifinals and was part of an outfield that included Curtis Granderson, Shane Victorino and Adam Dunn. It'll be interesting to see who also joins the fray this time around as the U.S. outfielding scene looks a bit different with the All-Star emergence of guys like Matt Kemp, Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Jones. Throw in vets like Josh Hamilton and Granderson and the U.S. team is facing some difficult decisions even if injuries or non-interest get in the way for some players. (Bryce Harper has already said he won't be competing this tim around.)

Provisional rosters for all 16 teams are expected to be released in mid-January, but two players per team have already been officially announced.

Here's that list:

Australia: Ryan Rowland-Smith, Luke Hughes
Brazil: Yan Gomes, Andre Rienzo
Canada: Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie
Chinese Tapei: Chien-Ming Wang, Hong-Chih Kuo
China: Ray Chang, Wei Wang
Cuba: Yuliesky Gourriel, Freddy Asiel Alvarez
Dominican Republic: Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes
Italy: Alex Liddi, Jason Grilli
Japan: Shinnosuke Abe, Masahiro Tanaka
Korea: Seung Yuop Lee, Dae Ho Lee
Mexico: Adrian Gonzalez, Jaime Garcia
Netherlands: Andruw Jones, Roger Bernadina
Puerto Rico: Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina
Spain: Engel Beltre, Francisco Figuero
USA: David Wright, Joe Mauer
Venezuela: Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval

Stay warm this winter!
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