The Dominican Republic has added a shutdown reliever to the roster in advance of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. George A. King III of the New York Post reports that Yankees right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to pitch for the D.R. in next year's tournament. As King writes, Betances, who was born in the U.S. but is of Dominican extraction, had the choice to pitch for Team USA or the Dominican Republic. Betances explained his decision thus:
"Both teams want me to play [for them], but I made a commitment to the DR,'' Betances told The Post Wednesday. "That is where my family is from, and I want to make them proud.''
Betances was on the preliminary U.S. roster, but those named to the preliminary roster of course aren't obligated to accept the invitation.
Betances, 28, is coming off a 2016 season in which he pitched to a 141 ERA+ and 126 batters in 73 innings. For his career, the three-time All-Star boasts a 189 ERA+ and 4.04 K/BB ratio across parts of five big-league seasons. Suffice it to say, he'll be an asset in the WBC.
Speaking of the WBC, first-round play gets underway on March 6 of next year.