Lake Erie Crushers' right-hander Eric Gonzalez-Diaz had quite the off-season after being tapped to play for Spain in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Spain was eliminated after the first round March 10, but Gonzalez-Diaz earned the opportunity to pitch against some of Major League Baseball's biggest all-stars, like: Miguel Cabrera, Yadier Molina, Pablo Sandoval and Elvis Andrus, said Crushers' radio announcer Andy Barch in a press release.
“It was an amazing experience for me,” said Gonzalez-Diaz in a prepared statement. “I learned that if you make good pitches, you can get anybody out, but if you make mistakes, especially against the guys I faced, they’re going to make you pay. As I get ready for the 2013 season, knowing that I faced a bunch of big leaguers, including four all-stars, I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare.”
The three-round annual tournament includes 16 international teams, and is held in ballparks around the globe.
The Spanish prospect was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round of the 2008 MLB draft, and spent three seasons in the Padres minor league system. He eventually reached AAA Portland in 2010, before heading to the Crushers in 2011, according to Barch.
Gonzalez-Diaz will begin his third season with the Crushers on May 17 when they play the Gateway Grizzlies at All Pro Freight Stadium in the 2013 season opener.