The first World Baseball Classic was supposed to be the last act of Roger Clemens' career.
Clemens said he would retire after leading the Astros to the 2005 World Series, but he wanted to represent the United States in the inaugural WBC. And he did, only to lose an elimination game to Mexico, reverse his decision and play parts of two more seasons in the Major Leagues.
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Which brings us to David Ortiz.
Big Papi captured the attention of Red Sox Nation with cryptic Twitter activity this week. Representatives of Ortiz and Boston haven't said publicly that a comeback is possible. Dominican general manager Moises Alou told MLB.com late Tuesday that, to this point, Ortiz has not expressed interest in playing again for the national team. But under any scenario in which Ortiz returns to uniform, the WBC is a natural place to start.
Ortiz played for the Dominican Republic in the 2006 WBC, posting a .993 OPS in seven games. But the Dominicans lost to Cuba in the semifinal at Petco Park.
Ortiz returned to the national team in 2009 and batted .250 in three games, but that tournament run ended abruptly with a monumental upset loss to the Netherlands. The D.R. rebounded to win the '13 WBC title … but Big Papi didn't play that year.
Now Ortiz's countrymen have a championship to defend. And they must do so without first baseman/designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who pulled out of the tournament in order to grow acclimated to a new environment with the Indians in Spring Training.
So, ostensibly, Alou and manager Tony Peña have a vacant roster spot where a slugger should be.
Know of anyone with 541 career home runs who doesn't have plans for March? Someone who would draw fans to Marlins Park for games against Canada, Colombia … and the United States?
Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.