NEW YORK -- Already the unquestioned face of his franchise, David Wright will fittingly be the only player to represent the Mets in the World Baseball Classic.
Wright will play third base for Team USA in the Classic, which begins March 2 with pool play in Japan and Taiwan. Team USA unveiled its provisional roster Thursday morning in advance of its first game on Friday, March 8, at Chase Field in Phoenix, while the other 15 rosters were revealed later Thursday.
The owner of a new eight-year, $138 million contract that could make him a Met for life, Wright will participate in his second consecutive World Baseball Classic. He was a critical piece for Team USA in the 2009 event, propelling the Americans into the semifinals with a walk-off two-run single in the ninth inning of an elimination game against Puerto Rico.
"You're talking about representing the United States of America," Wright said at the time, before Team USA bowed out to Japan in the semifinals. "You have that across the front of your chest. You're representing a nation, and to be able to get that hit, that's got to be right up there at the top of the list."
A first-half MVP candidate in 2012, Wright is coming off his best overall season in years, putting up Gold Glove-caliber defensive numbers while hitting .306 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs.
Officially committing to the Classic last month, Wright will join a star-studded Team USA roster that also includes former teammate R.A. Dickey, now of the Blue Jays. Longtime rival Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies will play to Wright's left at shortstop, while Miami's Giancarlo Stanton and Milwaukee's Ryan Braun will anchor the outfield.
"This team features unprecedented international experience at the highest levels, and we look forward to March when the players will take the field to represent the United States," USA Baseball president Mike Gaski said in a statement.
Other former teammates, including Jose Reyes for the Dominican Republic and Carlos Beltran for Puerto Rico, will also participate in the Classic.
Despite a few candidates, the Mets will not have any other players in this year's event. Shortstop Ruben Tejada was once on track to participate, but his native Panama did not qualify. Nor did Israel, which might have used the services of first basemen Ike Davis and Josh Satin, as well as those of retired outfielder Shawn Green. Outfielders Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker are both of Dutch descent, but the Netherlands did not name either player to its roster.
In other words, the Mets will not be sending nearly as many players to the Classic as they did in 2009, when 15 of their Major and Minor Leaguers -- including Wright, Reyes and Beltran -- competed for eight different countries.
This year, Team USA will compete in a first-round pool consisting of Canada, Italy and Mexico. Finals for the 2013 Classic will be held on March 19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.