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Dominicans to face Netherlands

Strong Dominican Republic club is favored against Dutch

World Baseball Classic Headlines


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SAN JUAN, P.R. -- The Dominican Republic is playing against the Netherlands in the opening game of Pool D play on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Edison Volquez will start the game for the Dominicans, who will play as the home team. Volquez started the only game that the Dominicans won during their three exhibition games against Major League clubs this week.

Sidney Ponson will start for the Netherlands. Although he suffered the loss in the Netherlands' first exhibition game, he has the experience to take advantage of a Dominican club that is trying to shake off poor run production over their past two exhibition games.

The Dominicans scored only two runs and left 28 men on base over their past 18 innings of play. They won their first game, 10-1, against the Marlins, but they lost, 6-1, to the Orioles, and 4-1 to the Cardinals.

David Ortiz is expected to be the cleanup hitter after Alex Rodriguez was removed from the roster due to a right hip injury. Willie Taveras (.571) and Robinson Cano (.500) were the top hitters for the Dominican team during their three exhibition games and are expected to be the sparkplugs for the offense together with Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez.

The Netherlands did not win a game during their three tune-up contests, but they battled. They lost, 5-4, to the Pirates, 4-3 to the Reds, and 4-2 to the Twins. Randall Simon hit .417 with 3 RBIs and 21-year-old center-field prospect Greg Halman connected for two doubles and a home run during the three games. Halman, a top prospect in the Mariners' system, fell one home run short of becoming the only 30-30 player in the Minors last year.

The team that wins Game 1 of Pool D will play on Monday at 5 p.m. against the winner of Game 2 -- the matchup between Puerto Rico and Panama scheduled to take place later in the day on Saturday. The loser of Game 1 will meet the loser of Game 2 on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.

Will Gonzalez is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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