Javier Báez commits to Puerto Rico for 2023 WBC

Detroit Tigers

There will be a little more magic at next spring’s World Baseball Classic. On Wednesday, Javier “El Mago” Báez committed to represent Puerto Rico in the tournament. The infielder previously played for Puerto Rico in 2017, when the squad finished second after losing to the United States in the finals.

Though Báez has struggled with the bat this season, posting a .230/.272/.369 batting line in his first season with the Tigers, the 29-year-old still has plenty of pop in his bat as he’s laced 24 doubles and 12 home runs this season. The acrobatic and energetic shortstop has also contributed four outs above-average with his glove.

Puerto Rico will be hoping Báez can return to the form he showed in the 2017 tournament when he was named to the All-World Baseball Classic Team. That year, he hit .296 with a home run, 5 RBIs and 4 stolen bases and also pulled off one of the most memorable plays in WBC history when he applied his signature no-look tag on Nelson Cruz while celebrating before the throw ever arrived.

Puerto Rico, who have finished as runners-up in back-to-back WBC tournaments, will look to finally win the title when Pool D play begins March 11 in Miami, Fla. It’ll face Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Israel, and a yet-to-qualify team.

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