TORONTO -- Former American League MVP Justin Morneau headlines Baseball Canada's provisional roster submitted on Saturday to the World Baseball Classic's organizers.
Morneau, from New Westminster, B.C., is one of 12 players included in the list that have played in Major League Baseball.
"I'm pleased to see that our roster consists of many players that have worn the Canadian colours before with our National Teams program," said Canadian manager Ernie Whitt. "The familiarity our players have with one another, and the coaching staff, will be beneficial in a short tournament like the World Baseball Classic."
Morneau, who plays first base for the Minnesota Twins, was joined by catcher Russell Martin of the Pittsburgh Pirates, closer John Axford of the Milwaukee Brewers, reliever Jesse Crain of the Chicago White Sox, outfielder Michael Saunders of the Seattle Mariners and third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Also being named to the roster are some familiar names with the National Team, including Chris Robinson (Dorchester, Ont.), Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, B.C.), Jonathan Malo (Joliette, Que.) and Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.).
The official provisional roster will be announced by WBCI on January 17th.
The remaining five players elected to fill out the provisional roster will be announced at a later date.
Of the 23 players on the provisional roster, eight were part of the World Baseball Classic in 2009 which includes Phillippe Aumont, Crain, Chris Leroux, Martin, Lawrie, Morneau, Pete Orr and Saunders. Players from the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic roster include Crain, Scott Mathieson, Robinson, Morneau, Orr and Loewen.