Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen told reporters Thursday he’s “95 percent sure” that he will join The Netherlands in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. Jansen is a native of the Central American island of Curacao, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Netherlands will play the winner of Pool 2 — either the U.S., Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic — on March 18 in San Francisco. Jansen will reportedly remain with the Dodgers until Sunday.
Jansen represented The Netherlands in the 2009 WBC, when he was still a catcher. He went 1 for 13 in six WBC games.
That headline came later than expected, which is progress enough for a country that’s produced one major leaguer in the last half-century.
Italy lost 4-3 to Puerto Rico in Miami on Wednesday night, ending its Cinderella run in the World Baseball Championship. Dodgers infielder Nick Punto went 1 for 4 and scored Italy’s second run in a three-run fifth inning for Italy, which upset both Mexico and Canada in pool play.
Down 3-0, Puerto Rico pounced on Italy’s bullpen — just as the Dominican Republic did a night earlier — to win the game in comeback fashion.
Punto is expected back in Arizona to resume his spring training with the Dodgers. He sent the following tweet Wednesday night:
Italy, the Cinderella team of the World Baseball Classic, almost did it again.
The Dominican Republic trailed Italy 4-0 in the second-round opener for both teams Tuesday, before clawing back to win 5-4 in Miami. Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez‘s sacrifice fly tied the game 4-4 in the seventh inning and Nelson Cruz‘s RBI single sealed the Italians’ fate. Ramirez finished 1 for 2 with a walk and a single in four plate appearances.
Ramirez played the entire game at third base, with Jose Reyes playing shortstop and Erick Aybar DHing.
Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto reached base in three out of his four plate appearances, scoring one run and driving in another.
Ronald Belisario, whose Venezuelan team was eliminated from the tournament over the weekend, arrived in the Dodgers’ clubhouse Tuesday afternoon.