Yankees’ Jonathan Luiziga Defends WBC: ‘Really Good Experience’

Lakeland, Fla. — The first Yankee comeback from the World Baseball Classic arrived this week and defended the championship that is under fire — particularly in New York.

Debate over the significance of the event raged after the Mets’ near miss Edwin Diaz ruptured his right patellar tendon in a bizarre injury while celebrating Puerto Rico’s win Wednesday night.

But Jonathan Losega, who’s back with the Yankees, doesn’t have any second thoughts about playing for Nicaragua.

Loaisiga described the WBC as a “really good experience” where he gets to play for his home country with teammates he hasn’t seen in a long time, in front of tens of thousands of excited fans.

Luiziga said through translator Marlon Abreu on Friday, before the Yankees lost, 8-7, to the Tigers at Publix Field. “It’s a unique opportunity….to be able to wear your country’s uniform, it means a lot.”

Yankees reliever Jonathan Losega made it to Nicaragua for the World Baseball Classic.
Yankees reliever Jonathan Losega made it to Nicaragua for the World Baseball Classic.
USA Today Sports

Luisega played two matches with Nicaragua, who lost all four of their matches in Group D in Miami.

He says he’s back healthy, and manager Aaron Boone expects Loaisiga to enter the Grapefruit League game this weekend.

Diaz likely won’t play for the Mets this year after suffering an injury as he and his Puerto Rican teammates jumped in celebration after defeating the Dominican Republic to advance to the WBC quarterfinals.

“It’s sad to see that happen, Diaz’s injury,” he told Loayciga. “That’s the thing about injuries—they can happen anytime, anywhere. And unfortunately, sometimes you don’t expect it, which is bad.”

The Yankees will not allow Louis Severino, a running back in the rotation who has dealt with various injuries in the past few years, to participate in the WBC.

Nestor Cortes was originally committed to Team USA, but a hamstring injury forced the left fielder to withdraw before the tournament began.

Kyle Higashioka plays for Team USA and Jiliber Torres plays for Team Venezuela.

Domingo German said he would “definitely” have played for the Dominican Republic if he had been asked. The German was planning to join the Yankees group on a trip to Miami to watch the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico match that ended with Diaz being saved and injured, but the German’s son was sick and withdrew.

“I suspect [the WBC is] great. “Seeing the players and the atmosphere and the opportunities that might come up,” Germain said, referring to Nicaraguan Dokie Hebert, a pitcher whose stellar play in the tournament earned him a contract with the Tigers. “To see the atmosphere in those games, and to see so many different countries competing like Japan. It’s good to see.”

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