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Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga defends WBC: ‘really good experience’


LAKELAND, Fla. — The primary Yankee to return from the World Baseball Classic arrived this week and defended the tournament, which is under fire — particularly in Latest York.

Debate has been raging concerning the event’s significance after Mets closer Edwin Diaz tore his right patellar tendon in a freak injury while celebrating a Puerto Rico victory Wednesday night.

But Jonathan Loaisiga, who’s back with the Yankees, has no second thoughts about twiddling with Team Nicaragua.

Loaisiga called the WBC a “really good experience” through which he could play for his native country with teammates whom he had not seen in an extended time, in front of tens of hundreds of passionate fans.

“It’s very essential to know that whenever you’re given this chance to represent your country and have the prospect to take part in an event like this, I feel any of us will take that,” Loaisiga said through interpreter Marlon Abreu on Friday, before the Yankees lost, 8-7, to the Tigers at Publix Field. “It’s a singular opportunity. … To give you the option to wear the uniform of your country, it means lots.”

Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga pitched for the Nicaraguan team within the World Baseball Classic.USA TODAY Sports

Loaisiga pitched in two games with Nicaragua, which lost all 4 of its Group D games in Miami.

He says he returned healthy, and manager Aaron Boone expects Loaisiga to enter a Grapefruit League game this weekend.

Diaz likely is not going to pitch for the Mets this 12 months after an injury sustained as he and his Puerto Rico teammates jumped around in celebration after defeating the Dominican Republic to advance to the WBC quarterfinals.

“It’s very sad to see that occur, that injury to Diaz,” Loaisiga said. “That’s the thing about injuries — they’ll occur at any point, at any given time. And unfortunately, sometimes you’re not expecting it, and it’s a nasty one.”

The Yankees wouldn’t allow Luis Severino, who’s build up within the rotation and who has handled various injuries the past few years, to take part in the WBC.

Nestor Cortes originally committed to Team USA, but a hamstring injury forced the lefty to withdraw before the tournament began.

Kyle Higashioka is twiddling with Team USA and Gleyber Torres is on Team Venezuela.

Domingo German said he “definitely” would have played for the Dominican Republic if he had been asked. German was planning to affix a Yankees cohort for a visit to Miami to observe the Dominican Republic-Puerto Rico game that ended with the Diaz save and injury, but German’s son was sick and he bowed out.

“I feel [the WBC is] great. Seeing the fellows, the atmosphere, the opportunities that will come up,” German said, referencing Nicaragua’s Duque Hebbert, a pitcher whose impressive play within the tournament earned him a contract with the Tigers. “To see the atmosphere in those games, and also you see many various countries competing like Japan. It’s good to see.”

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