Defending champion Japan, Cuba and the United States were among the teams sent early invitations for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
“There are already several countries that were in a good position in the last Classic that have received their invitations,” Major League Baseball vice president of international baseball operations Lou Melendez said Thursday.
The first invitations went to teams that reached the second round of the 2006 tournament: Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela.
Another eight invitees will be announced by December. The candidates include teams that made early exits last year—Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, China, Taiwan, Panama, Canada and South Africa—as well as new contenders such as Colombia or Nicaragua.