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The Opener: WBC, Rays, MLBTR Chats

The Opener: WBC, Rays, MLBTR Chats

As Opening Day approaches, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:

1. WBC Update

The first round of the World Baseball Classic ends today, with a trio of key games that will decide who advances: At 2pm CT, Mexico will face Canada on FS2, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals. Notably, Canada will likely be without star first baseman Freddie Freeman for today’s game after Freeman was removed from yesterday’s game with “slight” hamstring tightness, though the issue seems unlikely to cause Freeman to miss time with the Dodgers. Meanwhile, on FS1, a 6pm CT game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will also send its winner to the quarterfinals, sending the other team home.

Later on FS1, Team USA will take on Team Colombia at 9pm CT. The U.S. will advance to the quarterfinals with a win, while a loss will result in each of the U.S., Colombia, and the loser of Mexico vs. Canada having a 2-2 record, with a tiebreaker deciding which of the three will join the Mexico vs. Canada winner in the quarterfinals. Finally, the second quarterfinal match takes place tomorrow morning at 5am CT, where Italy will take on Japan on FS2.

2. Will Kelley finally get his roster spot?

Right-hander Trevor Kelley, who joined the Rays on a minor league deal this offseason, was selected to Tampa Bay’s 40-man roster last month near the start of Spring Training. However, MLB voided that selection, as minor league contracts cannot formally be selected to the 40-man until March 15. Now that the date has finally arrived, it seems reasonable to expect the 30-year old hurler to be added to the 40-man roster in the near future, especially considering he’s tossed 5 1/3 shutout innings with three hits, two walks and six strikeouts so far in Grapefruit League action. The Rays could place either Andrew Kittredge or Shane Baz on the 60-day injured list as the corresponding move. Both players are recovering from 2022 Tommy John surgery.

3. MLBTR Chats Today

We continue our series of live chats with people from around the game of baseball today as Jim Duquette will be joining us for a live chat with readers at 3pm CT this afternoon. Duquette spent 17 years working in MLB front offices with his most notable roles being GM of the Mets from 2003 to 2004 and vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles from 2006 to 2007. You can also hear Duquette on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, where he hosts the…

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