MLB plans to play World Baseball Classic again in '09

NAPLES, Fla. -- Baseball players and owners plan to stage
the second edition of the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

"Timing and format still have to be discussed, but we're going
to go ahead with it," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating
officer, said Tuesday at the general managers' meetings.

Japan won the first edition of the WBC last March, beating Cuba
10-6 in the final. The United States was eliminated in the second
round with a 2-1 loss to Mexico.

"We think the Classic was a positive experience, and expect to
be able to reach an appropriate agreement with the clubs," said
Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players' association.
"A 2009 WBC is on the agenda for our upcoming board meeting."

Baseball at first hoped to launch the WBC in 2005 but extensive
planning caused a one-year delay. After 2009, baseball hopes to
stage the tournament every four years -- keeping it out of Olympic

Some have suggested holding the tournament in November, after
the World Series, but Orza has said in the past that it is far more
practicable to stage it before the start of the regular season.
Because this year's tournament was held during spring training,
there were pitch limits in place to prevent strain on arms just
getting into shape for the regular season.