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David Bednar, Roansy Contreras lead group of Pirates to compete in World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic begins March 7

New York Yankees v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Rosters for the 2023 World Baseball Classic were announced Thursday. The Pittsburgh Pirates are well-represented on the mound and accounted for by a handful of Minor League players.

2022 All-Star closer and former Mars right-handed reliever David Bednar will pitch for Team USA. Righty reliever Duane Underwood Jr. will represent Puerto Rico, while righty starter Roansy Contreras and newly-signed lefty reliever Jarlin Garcia will pitch for the Dominican Republic.

Also representing the Pirates are left-handed reliever Rob Zastryzny (Canada), right-handed starter/reliever Santiago Florez (Columbia), shortstop Tsung-Che Cheng (Chinese Taipei), right-handed starter Alessandro Ercolani (Italy), righty reliever Jeffrey Passantino (Italy), righty reliever Antwone Kelly (Netherlands), outfielder Joshua Palacios (Netherlands), right-handed reliever Tahnaj Thomas (Great Britain), and outfielder Chavez Young (Great Britain).

Bednar recorded a 2.61 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 45 games totaling 51.2 innings. He walked 16 and struck out 69 batters as the Pirates’ closer, earning 19 saves. Bednar dealt with a lower back issue that kept him off the mound for almost two months before returning in late September to pitch five games.

Contreras started 18 of the 21 games he appeared in for the Pirates in his first major taste of MLB action. He finished the year 5-5 overall with a 3.79 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 95 innings, striking out 86 batters and becoming one of the Bucs’ top starting pitching options.

Underwood Jr. bounced up and down between success and inefficiency. He closed 2022 1-6 overall in 57.1 innings over 51 games, registering a 4.40 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, and a .254 opponent batting average. Garcia joins the Pirates following three seasons in San Francisco. He owns a 3.61 lifetime ERA and totaled a 2.84 mark and 1.07 WHIP in 152 innings as a Giant, striking out 148 batters.

The World Baseball Classic begins Tuesday, March 7, and concludes with the championship in Miami on March 21.