MINNEAPOLIS — For the Minnesota Twins’ two biggest stars, the baseball season will start a little earlier this year.
Catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau both committed to represent their countries in the World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball announced Monday.
This is Morneau’s third time in the WBC. The New Westminster, B.C., native also played on Team Canada in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic. The 31-year-old Morneau batted .267 with 19 home runs and 77 RBI in 134 games with the Twins this past season. He missed most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons due to injuries, but was able to stay healthy for the majority of the 2012 season.
In two games in the 2009 WBC, Morneau was 4-for-9 with two doubles and one RBI for Team Canada. In three WBC games in 2006, Morneau was 4-for-13 with three doubles.
Mauer will be making his first appearance in the World Baseball Classic. The 29-year-old All-Star catcher batted .319 in 2012, finishing fourth in the American League batting race. Mauer played in a career-high 147 games last year, hitting 10 homers and driving in 85 runs.
The 2013 WBC, which will include 16 teams, will start in early March and will end on March 19 with the championship game at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Japan won the last WBC in 2009, beating South Korea for the title.