The head of the technical staff of Cuba’s U-18 team composed of 33 players, Juan Suárez talked to Hugo Garcia of Juventudo Rebelde about the Friendship Series of eight games between Cuba and Canada starting today.
Matanzas (July 4) – “The team looks in really good shape, with disposition, good discipline and burning desire to play,” stated Juan Suárez, the head of the technical staff of the U-18 team composed of 33 Cuban players, who have been preparing for more than a week in the Palmar de Junco stadium to take on their Canadian peers in a series of eight games, from today to next July 10.
Suárez valued the preparation as good, with the appropriate teamwork, which will help boost the quality of a team composed of three catchers, 15 pitchers, seven infielders and eight outfielders, under the management of Luis Cuba, who led the Cuban team to the third place in the 2013 World championship in Chinese Taipei.
“Here we have players who have taken part in the National Series, with higher experience and knowledge, something that makes this series stronger,” said Suárez, who stressed that the training sessions focused on the physical preparation, the work on defence, pitching and batting.
Suárez added that the series with Canadian teams have not been held since 2011, which increases expectations among the baseball fans, since some young pitchers with a 90 mph fast ball will take part.
The Cuban group is made up by the catchers William Suárez, Ariel Martínez and Alexander Guerrero; the infielders Hernán Viera, Yoel Yanki, Omar Estévez, Denis Peña, Camilo Quintero, Ronald Rangel y José Noroña; while in the outfield will be Víctor Víctor Mesa, Luis Robert Moirán, Julio Pablo Martínez, Yusnyer Díaz, Jorge Luis Oña, Daniel Rodríguez, Miguel Pita and Héctor Pantoja.
The pitchers are Luis Estrada, Yohán Oviedo, Raidel Orta, Jorge Castro, Michel Báez, Cionel Pérez, Carlos Nuviola, Daniel Pérez, Lázaro Navarro, Henry Mazorra, Yusén Corrales, Edgar Escobar, Adrián Sagarra, Carlos Font and Jorge Díaz.
Baseball Canada announces roster for Cuba summer series
(June 25) – Baseball Canada announced today the names of 24 players that will travel to Cuba for a nine-game exhibition series against the Cuban 18U National Team from July 4th to 10th.
All nine games will take place at Victoria de Girón Stadium in Matanzas.
The Cuba Summer Series is an important step for the Junior National Team as they prepare for the COPABE 18U World Cup Qualifier scheduled for September 5th to 14th in Los Cabos/La Paz, Mexico. The top four countries in Mexico will qualify for the 2015 IBAF 18U World Cup in Koshien, Japan.
“In Cuba, our players will be challenged by playing in a foreign environment against one of the premiere baseball nations in the world,” said Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada.
“The Cuban (18U) National Team will provide a world-class opponent for our club and give us a preview of what type of competition we will face in Mexico.”
Prior to Cuba, the team will assemble in Toronto for an exhibition game at Connorvale Park in Etobicoke on June 30thbefore holding workouts at Rogers Centre on July 1st and 2nd.
On Canada Day, the Junior National Team will be a guest of the Toronto Blue Jays taking part in on-field pregame festivities before watching the Jays take-on the Milwaukee Brewers.
Players, coaches and staff will travel to Varadero, Cuba on July 3rd.
-Twenty-three (23) players named to the roster have previous experience with the Junior National Team program
-RHP RJ Freure (Burlington, ON) will be participating with the Junior National Team program for the first time
-Four players (Mitchell Bigras, Josh Naylor, Demi Orimoloye and JP Stevenson) named to the roster took part in the 2013 IBAF 18U World Cup in Taichung, Taiwan where Canada finished in seventh place
-Five players (Robert Byckowski, Ben Onyshko, Louis-Philippe Pelletier, Zach Pop and Mitch Robinson) named to the roster were selected earlier this month in the MLB First-Year Player Draft
The coaching is staff will be led by Head Coach Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON), while coaches Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) and Mike Johnson (Sherwood Park, AB) return to the staff. Former big leaguer and Olympian Jason Dickson (Fredericton, NB) will join the coaching staff as a guest coach.
Live game tweets from Cuba will be available via Baseball Canada’s Twitter account, @baseballcanada. Daily game stories will be posted after each game on Baseball Canada’s official website, baseball.ca.