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February 19, 2009

Thursday spring update, Cruz to WBC

Cruz <>

- Ron Jenkins

Nelson Cruz will play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic next month. He wasn't on the provisional roster but was contacted Wednesday. He has been told he will be the regular right fielder, easing the Rangers' concerns that he will get enough at-bats to be ready for the regular season.

"I'm really happy to represent my country and fight for the title," Cruz said. "They told me I'm going to be the right fielder. ... We've got to win."

Cruz will leave the Rangers and report to Florida on March 1 to practice with the Dominican team. First-round games for Pool D will be held March 7-11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera pulled out of the Classic this week, leaving a vacancy for Cruz.

<>The Rangers have not heard from shortstop Omar Vizquel, and the veteran was one of two players who missed the report date for position players. Technically speaking, spring training is in voluntary period for a few more days. The mandatory report date for all players is Sunday. Infielder Jose Vallejo is expected to be in camp today. He made his flight from the Dominican on Wednesday after his wife's visa appointment, but a storm forced the plane to be diverted.

-- Jeff Wilson

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