SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Team Venezuela's losses in the World Baseball Classic will be the Rockies' gain, as All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and potential ace pitcher Jhoulys Chacin will be returning to the club shortly.
Venezuela lost its first two Classic games in Puerto Rico and has been eliminated from the tournament. The squad did come from behind to beat Spain, 11-6, on Sunday to avoid having to win a qualifier to be a part of the next Classic, in 2017.
"It's not a secret things did not work out well," Gonzalez said after Sunday's game, during which he went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two walks. "We didn't hit, we didn't pitch well, we didn't play defense in the first game against the Dominican Republic. A lot of players think that's why today we are packing up and going back home, and it's disappointing for us, for the fans. We have to keep moving forward and think about the future."
Many Venezuelans are among the game's most celebrated stars. Pride was on the line Sunday.
"We are professionals, and every time we have a uniform on, we're going to go out to try to win," said Gonzalez, who also tweeted an emotional statement of disappointment and Venezuelan patriotism. "That is our goal. We knew that today's game didn't mean anything; we weren't going to the next round. But we played to win.
"We were losing, 3- 0, early in the game, but we knew we would respond. That's how we thought in the first two games, it didn't happen, so we didn't get to where we wanted. "
Chacin pitched Friday in a loss to the Dominican Republic, so he can be slotted into the Rockies' rotation with little trouble.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less