PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will watch their entire starting outfield from afar for at least part of Spring Training. Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco are set to represent their countries in the World Baseball Classic next month.
Rosters for the international tournament were officially unveiled Wednesday night. The Pirates will send nine players, including five from their 40-man roster: McCutchen, Marte, Polanco, catcher Francisco Cervelli and starter Ivan Nova.
Cervelli will catch for Italy. McCutchen is set to play the outfield for Team USA. Marte and Polanco will patrol the outfield for the Dominican Republic. Nova is in the Dominican Republic's pitcher pool.
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 USA as an example, Danny Duffy and Tanner Roark 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.
Non-roster invitee Eric Wood, a third baseman expected to play in Triple-A this year, will join Team Canada. Right-hander Luis Escobar (their No. 15 prospect) will be among Colombia's available pitchers, non-roster lefty Jared Lakind will be in Israel's pitcher pool and Minor League righty Sam Street is on Australia's list of pitchers.
The Pirates are scheduled to play an exhibition game against the Dominican team at McKechnie Field on March 8, so Marte, Polanco and possibly Nova will line up against their Pittsburgh teammates.
The Dominican Republic and Team USA will open play with Pool C in Miami on March 9 and 10, respectively. Cervelli's Italian squad, part of Pool D, will open its schedule against host country Mexico on March 9. The single-elimination championship round is scheduled for March 20-22 at Dodger Stadium.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported Cervelli's decision to play in late November. Marte and Polanco were listed on the Dominican team's preliminary roster. McCutchen committed to Team USA in early December. Nova is the closest thing to a surprise participant for the Pirates, who typically prefer their pitchers remain in camp under the watch of coach Ray Searage.
Presumably, the Pirates also would like to give their outfielders as much time as possible to get comfortable working alongside each other in their new positions, particularly McCutchen in right field. But they figure to be separated from the time they leave camp until late March.
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.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.