Cuba Headlines

Cuba News, Breaking News, Articles and Daily Information

MORE than a year after finishing in second place at the World Baseball Classic, Cuba is relying on "versatile" players and good pitchers to achieve its 10th Pan-American title at the Games in Rio de Janeiro.

A pre-selection of 35 players began training on May 17 in the Cuban capital with their sights set on the continental event that is set to begin next July 13.

"We are relying on a combination of young and experienced players; theyre versatile and have great offensive potential," said Benito Camacho, technical director of the Cuban Baseball Federation.

Camacho added that "the body of pitchers is solid and for the first time, there are five left-handers," and he mentioned the islands new personalities, left-handers Aroldis Chapman and Elier Sánchez.

"They are 19 and 20 years old; they have exceptional speed, good height and great motivation," commented the coach.

Sánchez was the best pitcher during the National Series with an average of 13-3. Chapman (4-3) was the leader in strike-outs with 100.

Camacho stated that Cuba is to apply a 100-throws limit on its pitchers. "That gave us excellent results during the Series, no one was injured and the men also specialized as opening, relief and closing pitchers."

Experienced pitchers Pedro Luis Lazo (13-5) and Norge Luis Vera (9-4) appear alongside Yunieski Maya, Vladimir Baños, Jonder Martínez, Vicyhoandry Odelín, Ciro Silvino Licea, José Angel García, Yolexis Ulacia, Félix Rivera, Alberto Bicet, and left-handers Adiel Palma, Norberto González and Arley Sánchez.

Manager Rey Vicente Anglada, who took up that post last July, will also be relying on third basemen Yulieski Gourriel and Rudy Reyes, catcher Ariel Pestano, shortstop Eduardo Paret, and fielders Alexei Ramírez, Frederich Cepeda and Osmani Urrutia

Notable also is the inclusion of catchers Eriel Sánchez, Osvaldo Arias and Yosvani Peraza. First basemen Alexander Mayeta and José Ruiz, who made their mark in the final stage of the series, with averages of 396 and 345 respectively. Second baseman Héctor Olivera and shortstop Luis Navas, as well as fielders Giorvis Duvergel, Yoandri Urgellés, Yoennis Céspedes, Alfredo Despaigne and Alexei Bell.

The selection will be nailed down to just 24 players in June to play a preparation tournament in Panama together with Nicaragua and Venezuela, as well as the host team. From this competition, 20 players will go to the Pan-American Games, looking to retain the title that Cuba has maintained since the Cali Games in 1971.

The Pan-American tournament takes place from July 14 through 19 and Cuba appears in Group A with Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela. Group B consists of Brazil, the United States, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

Camacho stated that Cuba is to play friendly games against Venezuela, whose team will be on the island for a week.

The Cuban team will travel will travel to Rio with expectations and play some practice games, particularly against Brazil.


Carlos Rodríguez, an official with the National Baseball Commission, stated that besides the Pan-American Games, the island has a reserve of talented players in order to take on other commitments.

A squad is to take part in the competition in Rotterdam, the Netherlands from July 13-20, explained Rodríguez, adding that the those selected for the team will train in their own provinces before meeting up in Havana.

Another Cuban team will take part in a tournament in Italy from August 24 through September 2.

The island will also defend its World Cup title in Chinese Taipei from November 6-18.

Source: Granma Internacional

Related News