Former, current 51s to play in World Baseball Classic

When the World Baseball Classic begins next month, there will be plenty of former and current Las Vegas 51s in action.

Many were born in the United States, but because of their heritage, they are eligible to play for other countries.

That includes two of the New York Mets’ top prospects, outfielder Brandon Nimmo and shortstop Gavin Cecchini, who will play for Italy.

Puerto Rico will have two of last year’s 51s on the roster in infielder T.J. Rivera and pitcher Seth Lugo. Rene Rivera, who appeared briefly in Las Vegas and probably will be the Mets’ backup catcher this season, also will play for Puerto Rico.

Israel, making its World Baseball Classic debut, will have four players who appeared in Las Vegas last season — the most of any team.

Ty Kelly, who bounced between Las Vegas and New York last season, will play for Israel, as will pitchers Josh Zeid, who made seven starts at Triple A last year, and Tyler Herron, who made one start. Zack Thornton, a reliever in Las Vegas last season, is part of the designated pitchers pool.

Jim Henderson, who made two rehab appearances in Las Vegas last season, will play for Canada, and second baseman Dilson Herrera, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds last season, will play for Colombia.

The World Baseball Classic will begin March 6.

Contact Betsy Helfand at bhelfand@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.

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