Blanco undecided on Classic
Catcher's preference is to remain with Padres in Peoria
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As of late Thursday afternoon, Padres catcher Henry Blanco was still unsure if he would play for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Blanco is one of three catchers currently listed on the official roster but he has told the Venezuela manager Luis Sojo that his preference is to stay in Peoria and continue his training with the Padres.
Blanco, who had a two-run home run in Thursday's 4-4 tie against the Seattle Mariners, said he would know for certain later Thursday night if he was staying or going.
"I prefer to stay here to get to know the pitching staff," said Blanco, who arrived here in Peoria a week after the rest of the pitchers and catchers when his mother fell ill back in Venezuela. "I explained the situation that I arrived here late. If he [Sojo] can find someone to take my spot, that's fine with me."
The other catchers on the Venezuelan roster are Ramon Hernandez (Cincinnati) and Max Ramirez (Texas), with Hernandez expected to handle the bulk of the catching duties.
San Diego manager Bud Black said the team hasn't tried to influence Blanco's decision.
"We're not telling him what to do," Black said. "I think it's a great opportunity to represent his county in a great event. But if he wants to stay with us, that's great too.
"He's been on a couple of different teams, he knows how to get to know staffs, he's had to do that before because who he is and his ability to integrate with pitchers ... that's his strength, he'll have no trouble getting to know guys if he's absent for a few weeks."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.