Taipei, Feb. 28 (CNA) Taiwan is "ready" for the World Baseball Classic, said the national team's manager Hsieh Chang-heng Thursday after it beat a professional South Korean team to wrap up a series of practice matches.
Hsieh expressed the hope that Taiwan can be at its best for the world's top-level baseball event, winning international recognition and building a brand for itself in baseball.
He made the remarks after the Taiwanese team beat NC Dinos of South Korea 2-1 in its final warm-up game prior to World Baseball Classic preliminaries set for March 2-5 in Taichung.
In its eight practice matches since last week with Cuba, the NC Dinos and teams of Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League, the Taiwanese national team won a total of five of them.
The Taiwanese team, which has been in intense training since Feb. 5, will face off against Australia March 2, the Netherlands March 3 and South Korea March 5 at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium.
It will be the first time preliminaries are held in Taiwan.
A total of 16 teams are battling for the final four slots in the World Baseball Classic.
Chien-Ming Wang, now a free agent after an injury-plagued season with the Washington Nationals, is expected to play in the Taiwanese national team in its first game against Australia. Hong-Chih Kuo, another Taiwanese pitcher of Major League background, has also been drafted for the quadrennial baseball event.
Taiwan was shut out in preliminaries in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics.
(By Lin Hung-han and Scully Hsiao)