Beltre, the only Dominican Republic player to earn a spot on the All-Classic team in '06 after hitting four home runs and driving in nine runs, had surgery last September to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. He has been working out regularly this spring, but there has been concern that he might overdo it in the Classic and sustain a setback.The second edition of the 16-team World Baseball Classic, which opened to widespread acclaim in 2006, will begin March 5 and end in Los Angeles on March 23 with the finals at Dodger Stadium. All 39 games are slated to be televised this year by ESPN and MLB Network, including 16 on the Network.
As expected, the Mariners will have four players on the Venezuela team -- pitchers Felix Hernandez and Carlos Silva, second baseman Jose Lopez and outfielder Endy Chavez. Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki and catcher Kenji Johjima are fixtures on the Team Japan roster, and Minor League pitcher Phillippe Aumont, a starter, will pitch in relief for Team Canada.
Wakamatsu said he would let Beltre make the decision, but made his feelings known.
"I would prefer that he stays in camp," Wakamatsu said, "because of the injuries he had last year. But we've taken the stance all along that we're not going to make the decision for [anyone]. We give them our opinion, and we've encouraged [Beltre], from a health standpoint, to make sure he's 100 percent.
"He feels awfully good, but the discussion we had [Monday] from my standpoint was to be awfully smart about it."
Other Mariners selected to Classic rosters were: Manuel Campos (Panama), Greg Halman (The Netherlands), Alex Liddi (Italy) and Anthony Phillips (South Africa).
Left-handed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith and utility infielder Ronny Cedeno were among the Mariners players who opted to miss the tournament this year and spend their Spring Training battling for Opening Day roster spots.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.