Phillies spring training will look different without some of their stars.
Some Philadelphia Phillies players will participate in spring training games, whereas others will play in this year's World Baseball Classic. Twenty countries have put together their respective teams with players from around the world to compete in the global competition.
After being pushed back for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Baseball Classic has been a long-awaited tournament for baseball fans. Team USA was the champion for the first time in 2017 — the most recent year the tournament was held. Three Phillies players will compete for the United States — shortstop Trea Turner, catcher J.T. Realmuto, and outfielder Kyle Schwarber.
The World Baseball Classic will be the first time fans will get to watch Turner play baseball as a member of the national team, but he will don red, white, and blue instead of Phillies red pinstripes. Bryce Harper was supposed to also play for Team USA, however, he underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this offseason and is expected to be sidelined until the All-Star Break.
Other Phillies will be a part of the contest as well. José Alvarado and Ranger Suárez will pitch for Team Venezuela, while Garrett Stubbs will catch for Team Israel. New Phillies pitchers Taijuan Walker (Mexico) and Gregory Soto (Dominican Republic) will likewise compete for their home countries. Seranthony Domínguez was expected to pitch for the Dominican Republic alongside Soto, but he was not listed on the final roster.
The World Baseball Classic takes up more than half of spring training, so it swallows a sizeable amount of time for Phillies players to get accustomed to MLB's rule changes. Still, it will be interesting to see how everyone fares in these games, especially Philadelphia's newcomers. As long as no injuries occur, it should be fun to watch the players represent their home countries.