|Canada has released its preliminary WBC roster. Is this masher on it? (Getty Images)|
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman has already reported that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will suit up for the U.S. in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, and now Canada has rolled out its entire provisional roster.
The heart of the matter:
The roster features 12 players who played Major League Baseball in 2012 including Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins, Russell Martin of the Pittsburgh Pirates, John Axford of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jesse Crain of the Chicago White Sox, Michael Saunders of the Seattle Mariners and Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Also being named to the roster are some familiar names with the National Team including Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON), Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC), Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) and Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC).
Not half bad. A lineup featuring Morneau, Martin, Saunders and Lawrie should be perfectly cromulent by WBC standards.
Still, you'll note the conspicuous absence of Toronto native and Reds masher Joey Votto, who happens to be on the short list of best hitters on the planet. Votto, of course, suffered a serious knee injury in 2012, and, as Shi Davidi of SportsNet.ca reports, Votto will likely join the Canadian roster after he "sort[s] through some insurance issues" related to that injury.
So that's what's up. Needless to say, Team Canada's hopes will drastically improve if Votto's in the lineup.
Also absent from the provisional roster are familiar Canadian names like Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden and Scott Diamond.
Canada opens tournament play against Italy on March 8.