Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Triple-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Indianapolis Indians Indianapolis Indians

Twelve Former Indianapolis Indians Suiting Up in World Baseball Classic

Former Indians manager Dean Treanor set to lead China as skipper
March 6, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS – With the World Baseball Classic set to begin with Pool A first-round action tomorrow night, 12 former members of the Indianapolis Indians will represent various countries from all four pools of the 14-day international tournament.

INDIANAPOLIS – With the World Baseball Classic set to begin with Pool A first-round action tomorrow night, 12 former members of the Indianapolis Indians will represent various countries from all four pools of the 14-day international tournament.

Pool A: Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama

Netherlands – RHP Shairon Martis (2012)

Martis, 35, will suit up for Netherlands after spending the last three years playing for Amsterdam of the Dutch Major League. The Curacao native began his professional career with the Giants organization in 2005 and went on to make his major league debut three years later with Washington.

On a minor league contract with Pittsburgh to begin 2012, Martis appeared in four games with Indianapolis in April and registered a 7.56 ERA (7er/8.1ip) before being transferred to Double-A and later traded to Minnesota in June. He appeared in his final MLB game in 2013 and has since pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League, Chinese Professional Baseball League, American Association, Atlantic League, Dominican Winter League and Dutch Major League with a short stint with Triple-A Norfolk in 2017.

Panama – C Christian Bethancourt (2021)

Bethancourt, 31, will head to Taiwan from Tampa Bay’s Spring Training to appear as catcher for his home country of Panama this month. He was shipped to the Rays from Oakland at the 2022 trade deadline.

He was named Indianapolis’ Team MVP after leading team qualifiers with a .281 batting average (93-for-331), 60 RBI and 155 total bases, and tied for the second-most home runs with 14 during his lone campaign in the Circle City. He also provided the game-winning hit in five of Indy’s 10 walk-off wins in 2021, the most by an Indian in a single season in the Victory Field era. Previously, he appeared in the majors with Atlanta and San Diego before spending 2019 in the Korean Baseball Organization.

Pool B: Australia, China, Czech Republic, Japan, Korea

China – Manager Dean Treanor (2011-16)

Treanor, 75, will manage China in the World Baseball Classic after most recently serving as Miami’s bullpen coach from 2017-19. The longtime minor league manager led the Indians from 2011-16 and has the third-most managerial wins in franchise history with a 471-393 record. During his time in the Circle City, the Indians finished with a minor league-best 89 wins in 2012 and made the Governors’ Cup Playoffs three times, most recently reaching the championship series in 2015.

Pool C: Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, Mexico, USA

Colombia – C Elias Diaz (2014-17, ’19)

Diaz, 32, is entering the second season of a three-year contract extension he signed with Colorado during the 2021 campaign and will leave spring training to appear as Colombia’s catcher in the World Baseball Classic. He has spent the last four seasons as a primary backstop in the major leagues between the Pirates (2019) and Rockies (2020-22).

The Venezuela native first appeared with Indianapolis in 2014 on his way up the minor league ranks prior to making his MLB debut with Pittsburgh in 2015. In 192 total games across five seasons in the Circle City, Diaz compiled a .269 average (188-for-699) and threw out 38.1 percent of would-be basestealers.

Great Britain – RHP Vance Worley (2014-15)

Worley, 35, will suit up for Great Britain after spending last season with Kane County of the independent American Association as a starting pitcher. After not appearing in game action from 2019-20, he began the 2021 season with Kane County before being signed by New York (NL) as a minor league free agent and assigned to Triple-A Syracuse for the remainder of the season. He last pitched in the majors with Miami in 2017.

The Californian and 2008 third-round draft pick by Philadelphia made his way through Indianapolis for 12 total starts between 2014-15. In those games, he went 6-3 with a 3.49 ERA (31er/80.0ip), including a complete-game victory with 7.0 one-run innings in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Aug. 21, 2015 at Charlotte.

Mexico – LHP Oliver Perez (2005-06)

Perez, 41, will appear in his final games as a professional ballplayer with Mexico during the World Baseball Classic after announcing his retirement from Major League Baseball following the 2022 season. He began last year with Arizona and made seven relief appearances prior to being released. He then signed with Tijuana of the independent Mexican League.

The 20-year major league veteran who has pitched in the big leagues for eight different teams came through Indianapolis for the first time in 2005, three years after making his MLB debut with San Diego, and made nine starts with the club over two seasons. In those games, he went 1-4 with a 6.64 ERA (31er/42.0ip) and recorded 13 strikeouts on July 1, 2006 at Toledo, tied with Mitch Keller (June 7, 2019 at Toledo) for the third-most punchouts by an Indy hurler in a start in the Victory Field era.

USA – RHP David Bednar (2022)

Bednar, 28, is one of three active Pirates set to appear in the World Baseball Classic and the only former or current Pirate suiting up for Team USA. He made his Triple-A debut with the Indians in 2022 after jumping from Double-A to making his major league debut with San Diego in 2019. In three games (one start) as part of a rehab assignment last season, the Pirates’ closer surrendered one earned run with four strikeouts in 3.0 innings.

Pool D: Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela

Dominican Republic – RHP Cesar Valdez (2011), OF Starling Marte (2012, ’14, ’17), RHP Roansy Contreras (2021-22)

Valdez, 37, will spend 2023 in the Angels organization after being signed by the club to a minor league contract for the second consecutive season. Aside from one relief appearance with the Halos, he spent the season with Triple-A Salt Lake and tied for the Pacific Coast League lead with 10 wins in 23 starts.

One year after his 2010 MLB debut with Arizona, Valdez found himself in Indianapolis. In 34 relief appearances with the Indians, he went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (18er/42.0ip) and five saves in six opportunities.

Marte, 34, is coming off a productive season where he hit .292 (136-for-466) in 118 games and was named a National League All-Star. The Dominican outfielder hit a combined .310 during his 2021 season split between Miami (.305 in 64 games) and Oakland (.316 in 56 games).

He made his first appearance in the Circle City in 2012 prior to making his MLB debut with Pittsburgh later that season and played in 111 games across three seasons with the Indians, compiling a .284 average (124-for-436) with 49 extra-base hits and 65 RBI.

Contreras, 23, is the youngest former or current Indianapolis Indian rostered for the World Baseball Classic this year. He is expected to spend the 2023 season as a starter in Pittsburgh’s rotation after registering a 3.79 ERA (40er/95.0ip) in 21 games (18 starts) in the big leagues last year.

The right-hander made his Triple-A debut on Sept. 22, 2021 at Omaha prior to making his major league debut with the Pirates on Sept. 29 vs. Chicago (NL). He returned to Indianapolis at the beginning of 2022 and made nine starts with the Indians, going 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA (12er/34.1ip) and 46 strikeouts.

Israel – C Ryan Lavarnway (2018)

Lavarnway, 35, will be suiting up for Israel in the World Baseball Classic after splitting the 2022 Triple-A season between Toledo and Jacksonville. He has spent part of 10 seasons with eight different major league clubs (Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Miami and Cleveland), with his last big-league appearance coming with Cleveland in 2021.

The journeyman catcher appeared in 78 games with Indianapolis during the 2018 season and hit .288 (76-for-264) with 23 doubles and nine home runs. His lone Triple-A campaign in Indy included an International League All-Star bid and earned him a September promotion to Pittsburgh, where he went 4-for-6 as a pinch hitter in six games.

Puerto Rico – RHP Duane Underwood Jr. (2022)

Underwood Jr., 28, is set to take a leave of absence from Pittsburgh’s spring training camp to appear with Team Puerto Rico. He appeared in 51 games (one start) with the Pirates last season and went 1-6 with a 4.40 ERA (28er/57.1ip), and is expected to be a key bullpen arm in 2023.

The North Carolina native appeared in one game with the Indians in 2022 as part of a rehab assignment and earned the win on May 7 vs. Louisville after tossing 2.0 scoreless innings in relief. He originally made his MLB debut with Chicago (NL) in 2018 and has spent part of the last five seasons in the majors.