Suarez said that the final selection of 28 players will be announced on March 19 after the training sessions scheduled for today at Nelson Fernandez Stadium, in San Jose de Las Lajas (Mayabeque), and in Santiago “Changa” Mederos ballpark, in Havana.
The friendly match between the Cuban team and the Tampa Bay Rays will be held on Tuesday, March 22, presumably at 1 pm.
This will be the second presentation of an MLB baseball side in Cuba since 1999 when the Baltimore Orioles faced in this same venue the Cuban national team in an exhibition game.
The possibility of an MLB franchise to conduct a warm-up match in Cuba became apparent last December during a high-level academic exchange between that organization and the Cuban Federation of that discipline.
The friendly match is the result of a serious process of talks and is a sign of interest in increasing mutually beneficial relationships and to consolidate the sport as a bridge of exchange between the two peoples, in the current context of links between Cuba and the United States.
Below, the Cuban baseball pre-selection to face the Tampa Bay Rays:
Catchers: Frank Camilo Morejón, Yosvani Alarcón, Osvaldo Vázquez and Olber Peña.
Infielders: William Saavedra, Yordanis Samón, Alexander Malleta, Dainier Gálvez, Andy Sarduy, Juan Carlos Torriente, Rudy Reyes, Yurisbel Gracial, Yunior Paumier, Yeniet Pérez, Yorbis Borroto and Yordan Manduley.
Outfielders: José A. García, Yoandry Urgellés, Stayler Hernández, Guillermo Avilés, Dayron Blanco, Roel Santos, Denis Laza and Rubén Paz.
Pitchers: Vladimir García, Jonder Martínez, Yosvani Torres, Freddy Asiel Álvarez, Yoanni Yera, Frank Monthiet, Leandro Martínez, Miguel Lahera, Vladimir Baños, Yaifredo Domínguez, Liván Moinelo, Noelvis Entenza, Danny Betancourt, Yunier Cano, José Ángel García, Héctor Ponce and Alexander Rodríguez.
Suarez also noted that the team manager will be announced soon; however he added that the rest of the coaching staff includes Coaches Mario Vega and Juan Bravo, trainer Victor Figueroa and pitching coaches Raciel Sanchez and Rogelio Garcia.
The executive also said that an illustrious group of sporting glories made by Juan Castro, Pedro Medina, Germán Mesa, Rey Vicente Anglada, Enrique Diaz, Eduardo Paret, Rodolfo Puente, Ermidelio Urrutia, Wilfredo Sanchez, Orestes Kindelan, Omar Linares, Braudilio Vinent, Pedro Luis Lazo, Jose Manuel Cortina, Lazaro de la Torre, Adiel Palma, Yosvani Aragon and Lazaro Valle will also be working and advising the Cuban squad.