Pools, international sites announced for 2013 WBC

Japan, Puerto Rico and Taiwan were revealed as international venues for the 2013 World Baseball Classic on Tuesday, with World Baseball Classic, Inc. also announcing the dates and pool groups for the event.

Those sites join San Francisco, Miami and Phoenix, which were all previously declared as host cities by the tournament organizers. The semifinals and final will be held at San Francisco's AT&T Park from March 17-19.

Japan, which has hosted a first-round pool at the Tokyo Dome in each of the previous editions of the WBC, will hold the Pool A competition at the Fukuoka Yahoo! Japan Dome in Fukuoka from March 2-6.

Joining Japan in Pool A will be China, Cuba (pending license approval) and a yet-to-be-determined qualifying nation.

The Tokyo Dome will host second-round games from March 8-12, in which the top two finishers of both Pool A and Pool B will advance to that part of the bracket.

Pool B will take place at Intercontinental Stadium in Taichung, Taiwan -- which will be making its WBC debut as a host city -- between March 2-5, with Australia, Korea, the Netherlands and a qualifier participating in that segment.

San Juan will serve as a WBC host for the third consecutive time, with Pool C to be held at Hiram Bithorn Stadium from March 7-10. Along with Puerto Rico, that grouping will consist of the Dominican Republic and Venezuela as well as a qualifying nation.

The United States will be part of Pool D and compete at Chase Field and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick from March 7-10, with Italy, Mexico and another qualifier also included in that division.

The top two teams out of both Pools C and D will move on to the second round, which will be held at Miami's Marlins Park between March 12-16.

Spain and Canada have earned two of the four qualifying spots and will be assigned to a pool at the conclusion of qualifying tournaments that will take place in New Taipei City, Taiwan (Nov. 15-18) and Panama City (Nov. 15-19).

Chinese Taipei, New Zealand, the Philippines and Thailand will participate in the Taiwan qualifier, with Panama hosting Brazil, Colombia and Nicaragua for the other remaining berth.