Major League Baseball on Tuesday said it is unable to let former and current major leaguers who defected from Cuba play for their nation in the World Baseball Classic.
The Association of Cuban Professional Baseball Players was formed with the goal of gaining entry to the WBC, which will be played next March 8-21.
The Baseball Federation of Cuba does not consider players who defected for its national team rosters.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB can’t change the eligibility rules, which the national governing body sets. The tournament is sanctioned by the World Baseball Softball Confederation, baseball’s international governing body.
“There are rules that apply to international events like the WBC in order for them to be sanctioned,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “One of those rules is that the federation, the Cuban Baseball Federation, controls who’s on their team.”