Canada releases provisional roster for WBC

Elsa

Plenty of established major league stars are on team Canada.

Canada released it's 23-man provisional roster for the World Baseball Classic to MLB.com, and it contains 15 current or former Major Leaguers. Former Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt is the manager of the Canadian squad.

Four-time All-Star and 2006 American League MVP Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins is the headliner. He will be joined by Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie, Pirates catcher Russell Martin, Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders, Brewers pitcher John Axford and White Sox pitcher Jesse Crain.

Joey Votto and Ryan Dempster are notable absences. Votto, the 2010 NL MVP, was limited to 111 games last season due to an injury. He needs to pass an insurance physical before he can be added to the roster.

Morneau has also played for his country in the 2006 and 2009 games, when Canada didn't make it out of pool play.

Whitt is happy with his roster, stating that he is "pleased to see that our roster consists of many players that have worn the Canadian colors before with our National Teams program. The familiarity our players have with one another, and the coaching staff will be beneficial in a short tournament like the World Baseball Classic".

Other players with big league experience on the roster are pitchers Phillippe Aumont, Jim Henderson, Shawn Hill, Chris Leroux, Trystan Magnuson and Scott Mathieson, second basemen Taylor Green and Pete Orr and outfielder Adam Loewen.

The World Baseball Classic begins March 2nd. Canada, who is in Pool D, will begin play on March 8th against Italy.

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