2023 World Baseball Classic: Padres’ Nick Martinez starts Game 2 for Team USA vs. Mexico, according to report

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Team USA will begin their bid to repeat themselves as World Baseball Classic champions on Saturday night by opening pool play against Great Britain. (Click here to read why we’re pessimistic about the Americans’ title chances.) Longtime St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright will win the opening game, but the bigger task – Sunday night’s opener against Mexico – will own San Diego Padres, real Nick Martinez, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

Martinez, who was called up to the US squad after Los Angeles Dodgers left-back Clayton Kershaw was grounded earlier in the spring, spent most of last season throwing in relief. He performed well, collecting in 47 games including 10 starts, a 3.47 ERA (108 ERA+) and a 2.32 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Padres have tasked him with moving into rotation this season, meaning the Sunday outing will be important to him for reasons other than the obvious.

Earlier this spring, Martinez spoke about how proud he was to play for the Americans. “Given my family’s history, when I come to this country and seek opportunities, it is an honor for us to have your son represent this country.” he told Jon Morosi as part of MLB Network’s WBC coverage.

The rest of the American roster is yet to be announced, but Nightengale had previously tweeted Chicago White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn should win against Canada on Monday, while Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas is expected to start against Colombia on Wednesday.

For their part, Mexico has not yet announced a starter for Sunday’s game. Taijuan Walker (Phillies), Patrick Sandoval (Angels) and Jose Urquidy (Astros) are all candidates expected to be part of MLB rotations. Mexico used its best starter, Dodgers left-back Julio Urías, in a loss to Colombia on Saturday.

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