Cuba, July 16 — The Cuban team of 24 baseball players travels Monday night to the United States for a five-game series with a hosting team from July 18 to 23 in Nebraska, Iowa and North Carolina, the island’s official site Cubadebate said.
On his part, the National Baseball Director, Higinio Velez, offered to the national TV a list of the squad, including the catchers Lorenzo Quintana and Lazaro Herrera.
Also the infielders Edilse Silva, Jose Miguel Fernandez, Andy Sarduy, Yulieski Gourriel, Yurisbel Gracial, Yordan Manduley, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Yunior Paumier.
The selected outfielders are Yasmani Tomas, Male Dayron, Irait Chirino, Ariel Sanchez and William Luis.
Meanwhile, the pitching area is covered by Ismel Jimenez, Freddy Asiel Alvarez, Joel Suarez, Raicel Iglesias, Misael Siverio, Norge Luis Ruiz, Vladimir Garcia, Noelvis Entenza and Diosdani Castillo.
Only seven men of these 24 participated in the previous confrontation held in Havana last year: Gourriel, Arruebarrena, William Luis, Ismel, Freddy Asiel, Joel Suarez and Vladimir.
Victor Mesa continues as the technical director, assisted by Lazaro Lopez, Alexis Garro, and Victor Figueroa, while the pitching trainers are Jesus Manso and Jose Ramon Riscart.
According to the program, the first game will be held in the main stadium of the Iowa, later the teams will move to the Werner Field of Omaha, Nebraska, to play on 19 and 20.
On 21 the players will rest, and the series will conclude in North Carolina, with meetings at the National Training Complex (on 22) and at the Athletic Durham Bull (on 23).
The Cuba-U.S. series follows the bilateral confrontation held in Havana in July 2012, marking the renewal of these exchanges after baseball officials from both countries subscribed a Letter of Intention to resume the games, suspended since 1996, when the entity US Baseball changed its leadership.
During the previous five-game series played at the Latin American Stadium in Havana, the hosting island achieved three victories in front of selected university students.
Some days ago, Paul Seiler, executive director of USA Baseball, remarked that the renovation of this series last year it was a historical step for the two countries that share a very rich history in that sports discipline.
Seiler expressed to be very happy of welcoming the Cuban team to play in an US field for the first time in 17 years. The baseball matches between the two neighboring nations began in 1987, but they were discontinued in 1996 when the USA Baseball changed its administration and unilaterally decided to remove the bilateral series of its annual competitive calendar.
So far, both nations have played 11 series of that type, with 34 Cuban victories and 23 setbacks.
According the island’s baseball officials, the match offers an excellent opportunity to measure the acting of young players without much experience in the national team.
These games also serve as well as preparation for the upcoming World Baseball Challenge organized by the Canadian Federation in August.
Cuba and the United States severed diplomatic ties in 1961, but maintain limited exchanges in the fields of sports, culture and academics.