Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga defends WBC: ‘very good experience’

LAKELAND, Fla. – The first Yankee to return from the World Baseball Classic arrived this week and defended the championship that is on fire, especially in New York.

Controversy has erupted over the significance of the incident after Mets closer Edwin Diaz tore his right patellar tendon in a freak injury while celebrating a win over Puerto Rico on Wednesday night.

But Jonathan Loaisiga, who is back with the Yankees, has not thought anything about playing for Nicaragua.

Loaisiga told the WBC that it was a “very good experience” where he was able to play in his hometown with teammates he had not seen for a long time, in front of tens of thousands of passionate fans.

“It’s very important to understand that when you are given this opportunity to represent your country and to be able to participate in an event like this, I think any of us will take it,” Loaisiga said through interpreter Marlon Abreu earlier on Friday. the Yankees lost 8-7 to the Tigers at Publix Field. “It’s a unique opportunity. … Being able to wear your country’s uniform means a lot.”

Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga pitched for Nicaragua in the World Baseball Classic.USA TODAY Sports

Loaisiga played in two games for Nicaragua, who lost all four of their Group D games in Miami.

He says he was back healthy, and coach Aaron Boone hopes to get Loaisiga into a Grapefruit League game this weekend.

Diaz likely won’t pitch for the Mets this year, as he and his Puerto Rican teammates jumped in celebration after defeating the Dominican Republic to advance to the WBC quarterfinals.

“It’s very sad to see that happen, that Diaz injury,” Loaisiga said. “That’s the thing about injuries: they can happen at any time. And, unfortunately, sometimes you don’t expect it, and it’s bad.”

The Yankees would not allow Luis Severino, who is in the rotation and has dealt with various injuries in recent years, to participate in the WBC.

Nestor Cortes initially committed to Team USA, but a hamstring injury forced the left-hander to withdraw before the tournament began.

Kyle Higashioka is playing for Team USA and Gleyber Torres is playing for Team Venezuela.

Domingo German said he would “definitely” have played for the Dominican Republic if asked. German had planned to join a Yankees team that ended with Diaz’s save and injury to travel to Miami to watch the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico game, but German’s son was sick and bowed out.

“I think (the WBC) is great. Seeing the guys, the atmosphere, the opportunities that can be created,” German said, referring to Nicaragua’s Duque Hebbert, whose impressive play in the tournament earned him a contract with the Tigers. You see countries competing. It’s nice to see.”

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