Six Former Shorebirds to Play in World Baseball Classic
By Bobby Coon / Delmarva Shorebirds
SALISBURY, Md. -- The rosters for the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Classic that begins March 6th have been released and Shorebirds fans will recognize some familiar names as there are six former Shorebirds that will be representing some of the participating countries.
The lone former Shorebird representing the United States of America is Mychal Givens. Delmarva fans will remember him playing as an infielder in parts of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons before returning to the Shorebirds as a pitcher in 2013. After the drastic change in position, his journey through the minors began to progress quickly as he saw success with his new craft. Givens made his MLB debut with the Baltimore Orioles on June 24, 2015. In 2016, Givens went 8-2 while pitching 74.2 innings and recording an ERA of 3.13. He has become a crucial part of the Orioles' back end of the bullpen.
Although he was born and raised in Florida, Manny Machado will honor his heritage by playing with the extremely talented Dominican Republic team. Machado played with the Shorebirds in 2011 as an 18 year old, after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles third overall in the 2010 draft. While in Delmarva, Machado batted .276 with six homers in only 38 games because of an injury and being promoted to the Frederick Keys (Advanced-A) after he represented the North in the South Atlantic League All-Star game held in Delmarva on June 21, 2011. Machado finished his 2016 season with a career high 37 home runs and batting .294 in 157 games with the Baltimore Orioles. He will join a star studded roster that includes Jose Bautista, Robinson Cano, and Johnny Cueto. The Dominican Republic team were the 2013 World Baseball Classic Champions.
Eduardo Rodriguez will be representing his homeland of Venezuela during the World Baseball Classic. He was a member of the 2012 Shorebirds team, going 5-7 with a 3.70 ERA. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in 2014 for Andrew Miller. Rodriguez made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 2015. In 2016, he was 3-7 with an ERA of 4.71 in 107 innings for Boston.
Joining the Canadian team is British Columbia native, Adam Loewen, although he is no stranger to International competition. Loewen was a member of the Canadian team that made it to the Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, PA in 1996. Loewen played on the Eastern Shore in 2004 as a pitcher and made it to the Major Leagues before transitioning to a position player because of constant arm injuries. Because of his contract with the Orioles not allowing Loewen to go down to the minors, Baltimore released him so that he could learn a new position and batting skills in the minor leagues. Loewen was then signed by the Toronto Blue Jays to a minor league contract in 2009. After playing all three outfield positions and first base in the minors, Loewen was promoted back to the Major Leagues as a position player with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. Loewen made a return back to being a pitcher and has made Major League appearances with the Philadelphia Phillies and most recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This will also not be the first time that Jonathan Schoop will represent his home region of the Netherlands, as he played for Curacao (a constituent country of the Netherlands), in 2003 and winning the Little League World Series in 2004. Schoop played 51 games for the Shorebirds in 2011 while hitting .316 and driving in 34 runs. After making his Major League debut with the Orioles in 2013, he has been a constant feature in the lineup. In 2016, Schoop hit .267 with a career high 82 RBIs and 25 homers for the Orioles.
Ty Kelly will play on Israel's National Team, honoring his mother's heritage. Israel's National Baseball Team has a lot of Americans on the roster that choose to pay homage to their Jewish heritage including Craig Breslow, Ike Davis, and Corey Baker. Kelly played for Delmarva as a utility player in 2010 and 2011 and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2011. In 2013, Baltimore traded Kelly to the Seattle Mariners where he played for their Triple-A club, the Tacoma Rainiers. After being named a Seattle Organizational All-Star by MiLB.com in 2014, the Mariners traded Kelly to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Sam Giviglio. In 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays claimed Kelly off of waivers and optioned him to Triple-A. After electing free agency, the New York Mets signed Kelly to a minor league contract in 2016. He made his MLB debut with the Mets on May 23, 2016.
2017 will be the fourth time that the World Baseball Classic will be played. The International Tournament is the first of it's kind and was organized in large part due to baseball being removed as an Olympic sport in 2005. All of the games in the 2017 tournament will be broadcast on MLB Network. The games will be played in venues in Seoul, South Korea, Tokyo, Japan, Miami, Florida, Jalisco, Mexico, San Diego, California, and Los Angeles, California.
Shorebirds ticket plans can now be purchased online at theshorebirds.com. For group outing information, contact the Shorebirds at 410-219-3112.
The Delmarva Shorebirds are the Class "A" Affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds are owned by
7th Inning Stretch, LLC, the same company that owns the Stockton Ports of the California League and the Everett AquaSox of the Northwest League.
The Shorebirds celebrated their 20th season in 2015, and have entertained nearly five million fans since beginning play at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md. in 1996. The team has captured South Atlantic League titles in 1997 and 2000 while successfully hosting the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in 1999 and 2011.
For more information on the Shorebirds, call 410-219-3112 or visit theshorebirds.com.