Cuban exile Arozarena leads Mexico to quarterfinals with 5 RBIs

Cuban exile Randy Arozarena (Tampa Bay Rays) led Mexico to the quarterfinals.

Mexico defeated Canada 10-3 in the final Group C match held at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona on the 16th (Korean time) and advanced to the quarterfinals with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss. The U.S. (2-1) must defeat Colombia (1-2) in the afternoon to advance to the quarterfinals.

Arozarena went 2-for-2 with 1 walk, 5 RBIs, including 2 doubles, in the final game against Canada to take Mexico to the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2009 tournament. Arozarena, who was a colleague of Choi Ji-man, was born in Havana, Cuba. He escaped Cuba in 2015 and played briefly in the Mexican League. He obtained Mexican citizenship in 2022 and participated in the WBC as the Mexican national team in 2023.

In July 2016, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Arozarena as an international free agent for $1.25 million. He made his big league debut on August 24, 2019 in St. Louis. However, St. Louis traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays in January 2020.

Arozarena drew attention for his stellar performance during the coronavirus pandemic playoffs. He won MVP with 4 home runs and 6 RBIs against the Houston Astros in the American League Championship. He set the record for the most in a single postseason with 7 home runs in games 3, 4 and 6 during the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2021, he won the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Mexico is a football country. However, the North is strong in baseball. In the northern part of the border, influenced by the United States, baseball is quite common. Fernando Valenzuela, Adrian Beltre, and Julio Urias (both LA Dodgers) are major leaguers from Mexico. Mexican-Americans living in the United States are also inclined toward baseball.

However, he did not achieve great results in the WBC competition. The best results were advancing to the second round and quarterfinals in 2006 and 2009. In the 2013 and 2017 competitions, they were eliminated in the first round. This year’s national team put a lot of effort into it.

In addition to Urias on the mound, he incorporated Cuban-born Arozarena to represent Mexico on offense. Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, Milwaukee Brewers Loudy Telles, Luis Urias, and Boston Red Sox Alex Verdugo also joined. The strongest member ever formed by Mexico.

In the first round of Group C,메이저놀이터 Mexico started with ace Urias, but lost to Colombia 5-4, shocking them. Urias allowed 3 runs on 3 hits with 6 strikeouts over 5 innings. The two-run home run was painful. On the second day, they defeated the United States 11-5 and found their pace. However, they narrowly won 2-1 in the 3rd game against England on the 15th, revealing their unstable power. In the final game against Canada, the batting line exploded and won by 7 points.

The strength of Mexico, which was shown in the first round of Group C, is unparalleled. In the match against the strong United States and Canada, they showed off more than 10 points of offensive power, but in the match against Colombia and England, which were regarded as weak teams, they played a close game with a 1-point margin. Mexico’s true strength is expected to emerge in the second round.

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