R.A. Dickey, Ryan Braun and Joe Mauer will headline Team USA in March during the World Baseball Classic, according to multiple media reports.
Dickey, a knuckleball-throwing right-hander won the 2012 National League Cy Young Award for the New York Mets before he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason. Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Braun won the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player and was the runner-up last year. Mauer, the Minnesota Twins' star catcher, was the 2009 American League MVP, and he's a three-time AL batting champion.
Other starting pitchers reportedly on the provisional Team USA roster are New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte and San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong. Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel heads a bullpen group that will include Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez and setup man Vinnie Pestano, plus San Diego Padres right-hander Luke Gregerson.
The offense for manager Joe Torre's USA squad reportedly will include Mauer, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Mets third baseman David Wright, Braun, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino and Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.
MLB.com reported that Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner and 2012 runner-up, won't be with Team USA at the start of the tournament but could join the club later. Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who is coming back from shoulder surgery, and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who missed most of last season after groin surgery, reportedly won't participate in the WBC.
Team USA begins WBC play in a first-round group with Mexico, Italy and Canada from March 8-10 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The top two teams from the group advance to a second-round pool that will be played at Marlins Park in Miami from March 12-16.
The tournament's semifinals and final will be played March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.