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Four Dirtbags Selected to World Baseball Classic Rosters

The562’s coverage of Dirtbags Baseball for the 2023 season is sponsored by P2S, Inc. Visit p2sinc.com to learn more.

After a six-year hiatus, Major League Baseball is bringing back its World Baseball Classic (WBC) next month. The world’s best players will represent their countries in the showcase competition, hosted March 8-21 in Japan and Taiwan. This year’s competition will be the fifth WBC in history since the inaugural tournament in 2006.

The 2023 rosters feature four Long Beach State Dirtbags representing four different nations.

Utilityman Jeff McNeil will represent Team USA, young center fielder Jarren Duran will play for Mexico, former big leaguer Vance Worley will pitch for Great Britain and minor league outfielder L.J. Jones (pictured, center) will represent Panama. All four players will be making their first WBC appearance.

McNeil, 30, is the defending NL batting champion and becomes the second Dirtbag to play for Team USA, following Evan Longoria in 2009.

Duran, 26, has played 91 games across two MLB seasons for the Boston Red Sox. He’s the second Dirtbags player to represent Mexico in the WBC, following pitcher Marco Estrada (2013).

Worley, 35, pitched eight MLB seasons for five different clubs, making his last MLB appearance in 2017 with the Miami Marlins.

Finally, Jones, 23, will get the chance to show his skills on a big stage. The power-hitting OF was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft, and he’s appeared in 188 minor league games across the A and High-A levels so far in his career.

Looking back to the first WBC in 2006, Long Beach Poly alum Chase Utley was a member of Team USA, kicking off the city’s connection to the WBC.

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Tyler Hendrickson
Tyler Hendrickson was born and raised in Long Beach, and started covering sports in his hometown in 2010. After five years as a sportswriter, Tyler joined the athletic department at Long Beach State University in 2015. He spent more than four years in the athletic communications department, working primarily with the Dirtbags baseball program. Tyler also co-authored of The History of Long Beach Poly: Scholars & Champions.