Roger Machado Leads Strong Cuban National Team to Rotterdam
Cuba’s 22-man roster has now been announced for the first of four upcoming events that will mark the 2011 summer and fall international baseball calendar. Roger Machado will return as team manager for the Rotterdam World Port Tournament, where he earlier directed the Cuban gold-medal-winning squad at the last WPT edition in 2009. Machado’s Ciego de Avila ball club was one of the surprises of the just-concluded Golden Anniversary National Series, reaching the Cuban League finals for the first time in more than three decades of team history. Machado (a former national team backup catcher) will be assisted by bench coaches José Hernández (Ciego de Avila) and Jorge Gallardo (Pinar del Río), plus pitching coach Ronnie Aguiar (Villa Clara). The Cuban squad will begin training sessions at Havana’s Latin American Stadium this coming Monday, May 30, in preparation for the late-June and early-July Rotterdam tournament. Cuba’s foes in Holland will include the always strong Dutch national team, plus national squads from Chinese Taipei, Curacao, and Germany.
Cuban National Team Manager Roger Machado during the 50th National Series with the Ciego de Avila Tigers.
post-season) and Cienfuegos reliever Duniel Ibarra (recent author of a new Cuban League single-season record for games saved).
The complete Cuban 22-man Rotterdam roster is as follows (with league team affiliations shown in parentheses):
Catchers (3): Yenier Bello (Sancti Spíritus), Osvaldo Arias (Cienfuegos) y Yulexis La Rosa (Villa Clara).
Infielders (7): William Saavedra (Pinar del Río), Yordanis Samón (Granma), Yoilán Cercé (Guantánamo), Ramón Tamayo (Granma), Donald Duarte (Pinar del Río), Alexander Guerrero (Las Tunas) y Bárbaro Erisbel Arruebarruena (Cienfuegos).
Outfielders (4): Yoelvis Fiss (Ciego de Avila), Yasel Puig (Cienfuegos), Urmaris Guerra (Granma) y Rusney Castillo (Ciego de Avila)
Pitchers (8): Yadier Pedroso (La Habana), Dalier Hinojosa (Guantánamo), Ismel Jiménez (Sancti Spíritus), Misael Silveiro (Villa Clara), Yosvani Torres (Pinar del Río), Duniel Ibarra (Cienfuegos), Yadir Rabí (Ciego de Avila) y el mejor novato de la campaña 2010-2011 en Cuba, el zurdo Gerardo Concepción (Industriales).
Cuba will debut in Rotterdam on June 24 versus Curacao at Neptunus Family Stadium on the outskirts of Rotterdam, Holland’s largest city and main seaport. Complete tournament coverage will be found on www.BaseballdeCuba.com, with this author reporting directly from the scene with live play-by-play commentary , full game summaries and regular analytical columns.