The Cuban baseball team will travel next Friday to Mexico, where it will hold several warm-up games for the Arizona Pre-Olympic Tournament.
Havana, Cuba.- The news was confirmed to Radio Habana Cuba by an official of the Cuban Baseball Federation, who also assured that the stars Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial (SoftBank Falcons, from Japan) are already in Mexican territory.
Cuba will play the Pre-Olympic in group B, along with Canada, Venezuela, and Colombia. In Group A, the host country will be the United States, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua.
The top two from each series will advance to the Super Round.
Manager Miguel Borroto said in an interview with Prensa Latina that "We have great strength in pitching, with pitchers with international experience (Blanco, Viera) and youngsters on the rise (Cousin, Yamichel, Yariel)," he noted.
Others equally capable, such as left-handed players Yera and Moinelo, speedy players Medina, Andy, Martínez, Chi, in short, a team that offers us peace of mind. The problem is that it's not enough to just pit, you have to score runs," said Borroto.
The warm-up matches in Mexico against Olmecas of Tabasco, Leones of Yucatan and Piratas of Campeche will serve to fine-tune the details of the Cuban team prior to the crucial match in Arizona, from 22 to 26 March.
With Alexander (Ramos), we've rehearsed all kinds of plays to put batters in touch situations, advance the runner, push runs, so that we can achieve our goals in the tournament," the mentor said.
Borroto said he was satisfied with the defense's behavior and respect for the opponents in the first round of the Arizona Pre-Olympic, he pointed to Venezuela as the most difficult.
We think it's time to make up for it against Canada and I think we can get away with it against Colombia. In the Super Round, the minimum is to win a game, but we want everything, we are mentally prepared for that," he added.
Borroto praised his charges, especially Japan-based hitters Alfredo Despaigne and Yurisbel Gracial, veteran Frederich Cepeda, and starter Yordanis Samon, as pillars of the attack.
He also highlighted the chances of 20-year-old César Prieto and Roel Santos to open and close the line-up during the tournament.
For the moment, only America has guaranteed Mexico a ticket to Tokyo, obtained in South Korea in the Premier 12.
The American hosts are going for the honor in the face of the fear of being left out of the quadrennial event. This is a goal that is also being pursued by regional giants such as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and the injured pride of Venezuela and Cuba.
Host Japan, South Korea and Mexico, who qualified at the November Premier 12 League, and Israel, who won the European Zone bid, are already booked in Tokyo. (RHC)