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Arencibia set to lend talent to Team USA in Classic

Arencibia set to lend talent to Team USA in Classic play video for Arencibia set to lend talent to Team USA in Classic
TORONTO -- J.P. Arencibia has become the latest Blue Jays player named as a participant in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Arencibia confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that he will be suiting up for the United States at the Classic, which is set to take place in March.

It's the first time Arencibia will represent his country at the senior level, but he previously volunteered for duty with the college national team in 2005.

"Talking to a legend Joe Torre is a good way to start a week!" Arencibia tweeted in reference to the current Team USA and former big league manager. "Honored to put on that USA jersey again!"

Team USA officially won't be announced until Thursday, but the news surrounding Arencibia has been confirmed by Toronto's front office.

The selection comes as Arencibia is set to begin his third full season in the Major Leagues. He has shown improvement behind the plate in each of his first two years and has recorded 41 homers in 790 at-bats during that same span.

Arencibia finished last season with a .233 average and 56 RBIs while posting a .710 OPS. He was limited to 102 games in part because of a fractured right hand he suffered during a game against the A's on July 25.

The native of Miami will have at least one familiar face to work with on Team USA as No. 1 starter R.A. Dickey confirmed his participation earlier this month. That could prove crucial for the Blue Jays as Arencibia needs a lot of time this spring to learn how to properly catch the knuckleballer.

It's also possible at least a couple of other Blue Jays players will be in the mix for Team USA as well. Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow could be under consideration, while closer Casey Janssen is an unlikely candidate following offseason surgery on his right shoulder.

Arencibia is close friends with third baseman Brett Lawrie, but for a couple of weeks, enemy lines will be drawn between the two. Lawrie is set to become one of the biggest stars for Team Canada after being announced to the squad earlier this month.

Rosters for all countries will be announced on Thursday. Jose Bautista isn't expected to receive permission to play from the Blue Jays as he continues to work his way back from a right wrist injury, but his fellow Dominicans Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Reyes are favorites to secure spots.

The amount of talent that will be departing Toronto's Spring Training camp is the byproduct of having a team with aspirations of reaching the postseason. It will now be up to manager John Gibbons and the rest of his coaching staff to ensure there is a smooth transition into the regular season despite all of the prolonged absences.

The World Baseball Classic is set to take place from March 2-19. There will be a 16-team field competing at seven locations in the United States and across the world.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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