World Baseball Classic to expand to 28 teams

The World Baseball Classic announced its plan Wednesday morning to expand from 16 to 28 teams in 2013 through use of a qualifying round. The expansion will give more players an opportunity to play in the tournament, though fewer big leaguers may actually qualify for to the round of 16 — and it’s not yet clear exactly when in the fall of 2012 the preliminary games will be played. Among the teams that now have to qualify for the tournament are Canada and Panama, which could affect Mets players Jason Bay and Ruben Tejada if they choose to participate in the event.

Here’s a list of participating countries and those Major League Mets who participated in the 2009 event:

Automatic Qualifiers
1. Dominican Republic (Jose Reyes)
2. Mexico (Scott Hairston)
3. Puerto Rico (Carlos Beltran)
4. United States (David Wright)
5. Venezuela (Francisco Rodriguez)

Qualifying Round Invitees
1. Canada (Jason Bay)
2. Panama (Ruben Tejada)

*Note: Angel Pagan (Puerto Rico) and Johan Santana (Venezuela) did not participate due to injuries.

—-Follow along on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo.

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