Outfielders Mitch Dening, David Kandilas and Chris Snelling, along with pitchers Chris Oxspring, Brad Thomas and Matt Williams were all named to the 28-man roster as announced by the Australian Baseball Federation on Friday.
Oxspring has been a staple of the Australian side for the past decade, most notably pitching Team Australia past Team Japan in the semi-finals of the 2004 Olympic Tournament, aiding the Green and Gold to a silver medal. The former Major Leaguer has been named the league's Delta Air Lines Pitcher of the Week three times this season, and leads the league with 75 strikeouts.
"I'm excited, I've been anticipating this since the last WBC so it's been about four years coming," Oxspring said. "(Being able to represent my country) is fantastic, and getting the chance to put on my nation's colours is what every player strives for so I'm fortunate I get to do it again."
In addition to Oxspring, two other former Big Leaguers made their way on to the roster from the Sydney side in Brad Thomas and Chris Snelling. Thomas was a member of the Detroit Tigers as recently as 2011 where he appeared in 12 games, but his best season came in 2010 when he was 6-2 in 49 games for Detroit. Thomas is a veteran of Team Australia and will make his second straight WBC appearance after playing in 2009. Snelling made his return to professional baseball this season after a two and a half year hiatus. In 2009 the outfielder had a successful WBC, including a two-home run game against Mexico. He spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies.
Matt Williams has been the most dominant relief pitcher in the league this season, registering a league-record 15 saves in as many chances. The bearded right-hander who reached as high as Double-A with the Minnesota Twins, leads the circuit in appearances and represented Australia at the 2009 World Cup. This past week, he was named the league's Pitcher of the Week for his three-save weekend in the Sox sweep of the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces.
"Making the team is something I've been working towards so I'm real excited to travel and play with the team," Williams said. "I've been having a strong season and I think getting the opportunity to close has been nice so I'm happy it's all worked out the way it has."
Outfielders Mitch Dening and David Kandilas will also don the Green and Gold in the WBC, as the two have been part of one of the best outfields in the league this season. Dening leads the league with 52 hits and will make his second WBC appearance after earning a spot on the 2009 squad. Kandilas, currently affiliated with the Colorado Rockies, is batting .284 with two home runs for the Sox this season.
In addition to the six players selected, Sydney hitting coach and Baseball NSW High Performance Manager Glenn Williams will serve as the hitting coach for Team Australia. The NSW native reached the Major Leagues with the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and was a key part of the Green and Gold team that took home silver in the 2004 Olympics.
The first-place Blue Sox are back in action tonight as they take on the second-place Canberra Cavalry driven by Rolfe Renault. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. at Narrabundah Ballpark in the nation's capital.