BRADENTON, Florida (SportsRadio 93-7 The Fan) – The Pittsburgh Pirates made roster moves with four pitchers today.
The moves include sending righty Pat Light to Triple-A and reassigning righties Casey Sadler and Angel Sanchez to minor-league camp, along with lefty Jared Lakind. None are considered a surprise, especially Sadler and Sanchez who each didn’t pitch last year after Tommy John surgery.
Light came over in a trade for cash or a player to be named from Minnesota last month, while Lakind pitched all of last season in Double-A.
Lakind Remembers WBC
While Lakind heads to the minors, he does have a great memory this month. Lakind was part of team Israel, who were 20,000:1 odds to win the World Baseball Classic. While they didn’t win, a team made up mostly of minor-leaguers and free agents did turn heads.
Israel advanced to pool play sweeping South Korea, Chinese Taipei and a Netherlands team that ended up making the championship round.
“We knew that we were good, everybody calling us the underdogs or the Jamaican bobsled team of the WBC,” said Lakind. “We used that to our advantage and just played free and easy. We took down some top teams.”
Lakind pitched in two games, one against the Netherlands with about 8,000 people in attendance and another against the Japanese in Tokyo in front of 55,000, which he described as “unbelievable.”
“There were drums and screaming and yelling, but it was in a foreign language so I didn’t know what they were saying,” Lakind said. “The Japanese people don’t really root against you. You’re not the Yankees going into Boston.”
Israel would lose in pool play, but did beat Cuba 4-1 before getting eliminated.
“We had a bunch of people rooting for the ‘Jew Crew’ and it was pretty cool to see not just our guys, but a good amount of people cheering for us,” he said.
A Texas native, Lakind has never visited Israel, but plans to when he gets time, saying the season and then workouts in the offseason don’t allow him a window big enough to travel long distances.
Lakind did note a distinction playing for Israel, it’s more than just playing for a country, it was playing for a way of life. And while baseball is not the national pastime there, he hopes this experience helps grow the game.
“I think they only have two or three baseball fields in all of Israel and the money we won will go to their program,” Lakind said. “They were telling us that the balls that they used looked like they were chewed by dogs and they had terrible equipment. This has helped raise awareness and helped kids get involved in baseball.”