Cuba says defectors still will not be allowed to play in 2017 WBC

Cuba decided to maintain its ban on baseball players who defected the country and will not allow them to represent Cuba in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Despite some encouraging sounds and the recent reopening of borders with the United States, Cuba is not yet ready to forgive those who left for MLB.

The decision excludes big league stars such as Yasiel Puig, Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu from participating in the next WBC.

Antonio Becali, president of Cuba's National Institute of Sports, said his country will be using only those players who have remained in their native land for international events.

"Cuba will continue with our athletes. That's something we will keep as indissoluble principle," Becali said during a news conference about Cuba's Olympic team. "Our athletes that are within the Cuban sporting system and our National leagues are those that will continue to represent us at international events."

This ruling applies to all players who have defected -- not just those who ended up in the U.S. There was an all-time high of 150 player defections from Cuba in 2015.

Becali said Cuba will continue to work with MLB to reach an agreement that allows players to play in the league without defecting from the country.

Cuba participated in the three editions of the World Baseball Classic, with its best finish coming in 2006, when Cuba lost the final to Japan by a score of 10-6.