Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera say they won't play in next year's World Baseball Classic

LOS ANGELES -- Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera stand among the greatest baseball players from their respective countries, but they won't take part in next year's World Baseball Classic.

At least not as players.

Pujols, from the Dominican Republic, will retire at season's end, and Cabrera, from Venezuela, will probably retire after the 2023 season. The WBC will take place leading up to that 2023 season, beginning with pool games in Taiwan on March 8 and ending with the championship in Miami on March 21. Mike Trout was previously announced as the captain for Team USA.

Pujols and Cabrera each expressed a desire to get involved, perhaps even as coaches, but they will not play.

"The Dominican Republic has so much talent right now, and I don't want to take the spot of one of those young guys who have to develop," Pujols said during a news conference moments before Tuesday's All-Star Game. "I feel like my time has passed. It's time to open the doors, like we've done, for other young players."

Added Cabrera: "I wouldn't like to take the spot of a young player who might be able to do a better job."

Cabrera and Pujols are two of only three players throughout baseball history to accumulate 3,000 hits, 500 home runs and 600 doubles, along with Hank Aaron. Each were added to this year's All-Star Game from Dodger Stadium by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred and have been celebrated at different junctures over these past couple of days -- especially Pujols, who put together a stirring performance during Monday's Home Run Derby.

Asked what he would do after retiring, Pujols said: "First of all travel, spend time with the family. Maybe a year and a half ago, when we were dealing with COVID over the summer, that was the only time I got to spend a summer off with the family. I'm looking for a way to give back to baseball.

"Both Miguel and I have a lot of wisdom that we could give back to baseball, especially to our countries, to the Latin players that are coming up right now. I know, myself, I can be a mentor to so many Dominican players coming up. They're the future of Major League Baseball."