Some WBC Players Back in Camp

VERO BEACH, Fla.- As the World Baseball Classic continues through its second round of play, those in the Dodger system whose teams were eliminated in the first round have either arrived, or in the case of those in the big league portion, come back to camp.

While lefthander Hong-Chi Kuo has resumed his quest to make the big club, shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, his teammate on the team known as Chinese Taipei which represented Taiwan, is at the minor league side of Dodgertown. Others checking in there from the Classic are righthanders Albenis Castillo (Panama) and Joey Norrito (Italy).

Hu, who inherited the title of the organization's top prospect at his position when Joel Guzman was switched to the outfield, did see action for the big club in exhibition games before moving across Dodgertown, did some lusty hitting for his team in the Classic, batting .417 but Kuo's performance indicated Dodger plans to see if he's able to go in consecutive games might be in jeopardy.

His longtime arm woes have been well-chronicalled and heretofore have prevented the club from using him more than three times a week since he was moved to the bullpen last year. He did that for Taipei, however, and, while he was strong the first day, was hit hard the second as his stuff tailed off noticeably.

Hu, who says. he enjoyed the experience plus the large crowds which viewed the games played in Tokyo, would love to do it again if he gets the opportunity. He probably won't get that draft exemption the two were hoping would result from it, though, since such a privilege is usually a reward for a strong team performance and his squad was bumped out early.

Right now, though, he's here and fully expects to move up to Jacksonville after a strong season with Vero Beach in 2005.

Castillo got in one one-third of an inning for Panama while Norrito didn't pitch at all for Italy.

Also in camp is catcher Kenley Jansen, who was to have been the starting catcher for The Netherlands, but, after practicing with the squad, came down with the flu just before the tourney opened so had to be scratched.

Although eligibility rules were extremely loose for some teams, the Dutch team didn't put him on the squad because his bedroom walls are coated with Dutch Boy paint or anything like that but, rather that Curacao is part of the Dutch West Indies, islands just off Venezuela which have been a Dutch possession since the early days of exploration. Thus their team could legitimately claim him and, more than iincidentally,Andruw Jones of the Braves, without apologies.

Then, there's the case of first baseman David Sutherland, an Australian who was on the country's roster but who never got a chance to make the team. Australia was well fortified at first with Justin Huber, who made it up to the Royals last year and who is highly regarded.

So, as Sutherland explained, "I was on the preliminary roster and waited for a call but they never did. They didn't hold tryouts or anything. "Thus, while, he hit .336 for Ogden last year, he still sat home while Huber played.