"The excitement shown by the players to participate in this event has been incredible," said Paul Seiler, the executive director and chief executive of USA Baseball. "This is still far from a completed process, but we're thrilled with the commitments to date."
Jeter said last month that early doubt changed to exhilaration as the 2006 tournament went on.
"I think when the World Baseball Classic first started there was a lot of skepticism, especially on behalf of the players," he said. "No one knew if it was going to work and no one knew if they wanted to play and if it would take away from the season and Spring Training.
"Then when we had the opportunity to get on the field, every player to a man was so excited to represent that country. Obviously, I have not had an opportunity to represent our team in the Olympics and this is the closest I'll ever get. But there is a lot of pride there."
Jeter and the rest of what could be a 28-man roster will report as a squad under Johnson on March 2 in Clearwater, Fla., the spring home of the defending World Series champion Phillies. The Americans' first game in the tournament is March 7 against Canada at Toronto's Rogers Centre. They play in Pool C along with Venezuela and Italy.
In between, the U.S. will play the Yankees in Tampa on March 3, the Blue Jays in Dunedin on March 4 and the Phillies in Clearwater on March 5.
The same 16 teams are back from 2006, when Japan went on to the win the title and Team USA was eliminated in the second round: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, South Africa, the U.S. and Venezuela.
Provisional rosters of up to 45 men per team will be announced on Jan. 19. Final rosters of 28 players -- including a mandatory 13 pitchers -- must be set by Feb. 24.
Team USA's tentative roster has Boston's Kevin Youkilis at first base, Pedroia and Cleveland's Mark DeRosa at second, Jeter and Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins at shortstop, Jones and the Mets' David Wright at third and Brian McCann of the Braves and Chris Iannetta of the Rockies behind the plate.
In the outfield so far, it's Ryan Braun of the Brewers, Curtis Granderson of the Tigers and Grady Sizemore of the Indians.
The starters are Peavy, Lackey and Oswalt and the bullpen has Fuentes, Nathan, Shields, Jonathan Broxton of the Dodgers, B.J. Ryan of the Blue Jays, J.J. Putz of the Mets, Matt Thornton of the White Sox and Matt Lindstrom of the Marlins.
Alex Rodriguez, who played for the U.S. in 2006, said he's committed to the Dominican Republic this time around.
|Twenty-two players have preliminarily committed to playing for Team USA in the 2009 World Baseball Classic|
|8||Braun, R.||OF||R/R||6-foot-1||200||Mission Hills, Calif.||MIL|
|51||Broxton, J.||P||R/R||6-foot-4||290||Augusta, Ga.||LAD|
|7||DeRosa, M.||IF/OF||R/R||6-foot-1||205||Passaic, N.J.||CLE|
|40||Fuentes, B.||P||L/L||6-foot-4||230||Merced, Calif.||LAA|
|28||Granderson, C.||OF||L/R||6-foot-1||185||Blue Island, Ill.||DET|
|28||Iannetta, C.||C||R/R||6-foot||225||Providence, R.I.||COL|
|2||Jeter, D.||IF||R/R||6-foot-3||195||Pequannock, N.J.||NYY|
|10||Jones, C.||IF||S/R||6-foot-4||210||DeLand, Fla.||ATL|
|41||Lackey, J.||P||R/R||6-foot-6||245||Abilene, Texas||LAA|
|22||Lindstrom, M.||P||R/R||6-foot-4||210||Rexburg, Idaho||FLA|
|16||McCann, B.||C||L/R||6-foot-3||230||Athens, Ga.||ATL|
|36||Nathan, J.||P||R/R||6-foot-4||225||Houston, Texas||MIN|
|44||Oswalt, R.||P||R/R||6-foot||185||Weir, Miss.||HOU|
|44||Peavy, J.||P||R/R||6-foot-1||193||Mobile, Ala.||SD|
|15||Pedroia, D.||IF||R/R||5-foot-9||180||Woodland, Calif.||BOS|
|40||Putz, J.J.||P||R/R||6-foot-5||250||Trenton, Mich.||NYM|
|11||Rollins, J.||IF||S/R||5-foot-8||175||Oakland, Calif.||PHI|
|52||Ryan, B.J.||P||L/L||6-foot-6||260||Bossier City, La.||TOR|
|62||Shields, S.||P||R/R||6-foot-1||180||Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.||LAA|
|24||Sizemore, G.||OF||L/L||6-foot-2||200||Seattle, Wash.||CLE|
|37||Thornton, M.||P||L/L||6-foot-5||245||Three Rivers, Mich.||CWS|
|5||Wright, D.||IF||R/R||6-foot||215||Norfolk, Va.||NYM|
|20||Youkilis, K.||IF||R/R||6-foot-1||220||Cincinnati, Ohio||BOS|