03/14/2013 6:44 PM ET
Marlins Park draws raves as Classic host site
By Joe Frisaro and Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Entertaining games combined with energized crowds have made Marlins Park an ideal setting for Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic.
Even the lime-shade green on the walls fits into the festive flavor of baseball's global event.
"It's been great," said Paul Archey, MLB's senior vice president of international business operations. "First of all, the color scheme is perfect for the World Baseball Classic. It's been terrific. You want a facility at this time of year particularly that is in warm weather or a dome. You have both here."
More than 30,000 were expected for Thursday's marquee Team USA-Dominican Republic matchup. In all, 21 Major League All-Stars are on the two rosters.
Ideally, the event handlers prefer to keep the retractable roof at Marlins Park open. But on a chilly and extremely windy Thursday night, the roof was shut.
However, the operable wall, located beyond the left-field wall, was open, offering a picturesque view of downtown Miami.
"Miami is the perfect city to host a tournament like this," Miami Marlins president David Samson said. "The crowds have been exciting."
So far, the roof has been closed in two of the first four games.
"As you can see, we've had great support from the fans," Archey said. "We'll have another great crowd tonight. The enthusiasm has been great. It's worked really well."
The next Classic is scheduled for 2017, and the vision is to make the showcase become baseball's World Cup.
"Remember, we've only had the tournament three times," Samson said. "It's in its infancy. What you'll find over time is that this becomes actually like the World Cup in soccer. You've already seen the types of matchups that we have here, and the reactions we have from people."
Marlins officials clearly hope to have the Classic return in four years.
"We'll apply to host it again," Samson said. "We'd love to. We're honored, and our people have done a lot of work. We've worked very well with MLB, and it's worked very well."
Lachemann leaves US staff for personal issue
MIAMI -- Team USA bullpen coach Marcel Lachemann has left the team to go home to California because of a personal issue and may not return to the club, said Joe Garagiola Jr., the team's general manager.
Lachemann, who has been with U.S. baseball teams for years in international competition, left the World Baseball Classic on Tuesday and certainly is not returning to Marlins Park before Pool 2 ends here on Saturday, Garagiola said.
It's also questionable whether he'll rejoin the team on Sunday in San Francisco if the U.S. qualifies for the semifinals at AT&T Park. The U.S. would have to win a second game in this bracket to move on to the final round.
Lachemann, 71, has been a pitcher, coach and manager in his long big league career. He was added by manager Joe Torre to the U.S. staff late last year to aid pitching coach Greg Maddux, the winner of 355 games and a certain Hall of Famer, who is acting in that capacity for the first time.
The rest of the U.S. staff includes Larry Bowa, Willie Randolph, Gerald Perry and Dale Murphy.
Bumps, bruises don't keep Santana out for DR
MIAMI -- Taking a beating comes with the territory when you're a catcher.
But usually, catchers don't get roughed up until the regular season. That wasn't the case on Tuesday for Carlos Santana of the Dominican Republic.
In his team's 5-4 comeback win over Italy, Santana took his share of abuse. He was struck on the left arm by a couple of foul tips. As if that wasn't enough, he fouled a ball off his right leg.
"The last game was a bad game for me, but a good game for the team -- we won," Santana said half-jokingly on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic was off. Players showed up at the ballpark to work out.
Being a bit nicked up, the day of rest was good for Santana, who was back in the lineup Thursday night.
Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena is a former big league catcher. He understands the beatings that come with the position.
"Sometimes it comes to the point where you don't even feel like you're getting hit," Pena said. "You just have to take the hits and you know you're going to be strong for a moment and then it is going to go back. You know the pain is going to go away.
"The other day, he got hit. I know he didn't want to come out. Catcher is a tough position, and we don't need to babysit. We need to take it. We need to take the hit, and that's exactly what he did."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.