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03/20/09 7:00 PM ET
Wright, Braun set to play for Team USA
Dunn moving back to right field, with DeRosa manning first base
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- The list of Team USA's walking wounded seemed to decrease by two on Friday, when Ryan Braun and David Wright said they'd both be available for Sunday night's World Baseball Classic semifinal game against Japan at Dodger Stadium. Braun missed two games in Round 2 with a strained right oblique muscle, and Wright fouled a ball off his left foot on Wednesday night, cracking the nail of his big toe. Adam Dunn is moving back to right field, manager Davey Johnson said, with Mark DeRosa replacing him at first base. Wright said he was good to go. "I'm feeling fine, I'm 100 percent," said Wright, the Mets' third baseman, after the U.S. worked out on Friday morning in Chavez Ravine. Braun said he was anxious to play, but a decision won't be made until after the U.S. works out on Saturday morning at the nearby Urban Youth Academy in Compton, Calif. "Barring a setback, I expect to be playing," Braun said. "They haven't told me yet. They want to see how I feel after I work out for a couple of days. But I'm feeling a lot better." Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was added to the roster for the semifinals and finals, but with Wright seemingly healthy, it's unlikely that Longoria will play. "It's nice to have Evan," Johnson said. "I'm not expecting to use him. He's an insurance policy. I could have used somebody to play first base, because we've had injuries over there. That's more critical. But we're in good shape. We're going to be in good shape on Sunday." Longoria, who was expected to join the team on Saturday in time for practice, said he is excited about being a part of the Classic under any circumstances. "I'm assuming [Wright] will be good to go, but if he's not, I'll be ready," Longoria said. "It will be fun. Any time you get to put on the USA colors and play for your country, it's an honor." Regarding first base, Dunn was used there on Wednesday night on an emergency basis in Team USA's 10-6 loss to Venezuela after Kevin Youkilis hurt his ankle in Tuesday's come-from-behind victory over Puerto Rico and had to leave the team. Dunn committed two errors. Asked who would play first base against the Japanese, Johnson said, "A right-handed-hitting infielder," indicating DeRosa, who's played 13 of his 785 games over the course of 11 seasons at that position.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.