DR aims to defend title as WBC '17 roster set

Cano, Machado, Cueto highlight All-Star-studded team

DR aims to defend title as WBC '17 roster set

The Dominican Republic will be serious about defending its World Baseball Classic title once it begins play in Miami against Team Canada on March 9. The country's official roster, announced Wednesday on MLB Network, features 10 returning players from its 2013 championship team.

The holdovers are headlined by '13 World Baseball Classic MVP Robinson Cano, his Mariners teammate Nelson Cruz, Indians standout Carlos Santana and Red Sox slugger Hanley Ramirez. Also returning are Jose Reyes, starter Edinson Volquez, and veteran relievers Santiago Casilla and Fernando Rodney.

World Baseball Classic tickets

Reyes, the Mets infielder who could also play some outfield this season for New York, is the only Dominican player to participate in all four World Baseball Classics.

The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Overall, the Dominican Republic's roster features 11 players who were MLB All-Stars in '16, led by perennial MVP candidate Manny Machado at third base. Machado, who was born in south Florida, is of Dominican descent.

The infield will likely be Machado at third, the Brewers' Jonathan Villar at shortstop, Cano at second and Ramirez at first. Santana, who is listed as a utility player, could also help there or in the outfield, where Pirates Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco will start alongside Jose Bautista.

Despite all that firepower in the lineup, the Dominican's strength lies in its pitching. The staff features six reigning MLB All-Stars: Yankees fireballer Dellin Betances, Rays closer Alex Colome, Mets closer Jeurys Familia, Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez, Giants star Johnny Cueto and fan favorite Bartolo Colon.

Martinez and Cueto will spearhead a starting staff in front of Volquez, though Dominicans' pitching took a hit with Cardinals youngster Alex Reyes now unavailable with an elbow injury.

Martinez on playing in WBC 2017

Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool (DPP), which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers, but it can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those "active" DPs can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another DP. Once a DP has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round.

Using Team Dominican Republic as an example, Wily Peralta and Samuel Deduno are the active DPs for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other DPs. And if a DP joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round, but only by another DP.

Rule changes ahead for Classic

The Dominican Republic's full pool of designated pitchers looks like this: Fernando Abad, Colon, Deduno, Edgar Garcia, Ivan Nova, Peralta, Alex Reyes, Bryan Rodriguez, Luis Severino and Cesar Valdez.

The Dominican Republic is looking to become the second country to win consecutive World Baseball Classics, after Japan won the first two tournaments. The Dominican Republic earned fourth place in the inaugural tournament in '06 and suffered a first-round upset in '09, before taking the '13 title.

Click on team for complete roster and breakdown.

POOL A
Chinese Taipei
Israel
Korea
Netherlands

POOL B
Australia
China
Cuba
Japan

POOL C
Canada
Colombia
Dominican Republic
United States

POOL D
Italy
Mexico
Puerto Rico
Venezuela

Pitchers
Fernando Abad, Red Sox
Dellin Betances, Yankees**
Santiago Casilla, A's
Alex Colome, Rays
Bartolo Colon, Braves
Johnny Cueto, Giants**
Samuel Deduno 
Jumbo Diaz, Reds*
Juerys Familia, Mets
Edgar Garcia
Carlos Martinez, Cardinals**
Hector Neris, Phillies
Ivan Nova, Pirates
Wily Peralta, Brewers**
Alex Reyes, Cardinals
Hansel Robles, Mets**
Fernando Rodney, Diamondbacks
Bryan Rodriguez, Padres**
Enny Romero, Nationals
Luis Severino, Yankees
Cesar Valdez, A's**
Edinson Volquez, Marlins**

* Active designated pitchers pool
** Designated pitchers pool

Catchers
Welington Castillo, Orioles
Alberto Rosario, Cardinals

Infielders
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
Robinson Cano, Mariners
Manny Machado, Orioles
Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox
Jose Reyes, Mets
Carlos Santana, Indians
Jonathan Villar, Brewers

Outfielders
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Nelson Cruz, Mariners
Starling Marte, Pirates
Gregory Polanco, Pirates
Mel Rojas Jr., Braves

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.