Top Jewish ex-baseball players join Israel WBC bid

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Three Jewish former major leaguers have joined Israel's bid for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, a move that could transform the baseball backwater into a legitimate contender.

Shawn Green, Brad Ausmus and Gabe Kapler met this week in Los Angeles with Israeli baseball officials and committed to helping Israel field a competitive team in next year's WBC qualifying round, the three players told The Associated Press.

While it remains unclear if the recently retired players will take the field themselves, their involvement provides an immediate boost to Israeli baseball, which remains a niche sport in a country where soccer and basketball reign supreme.

The 39-year-old Green, a two-time MLB All-Star, did not rule out playing, saying he would help the team "in any capacity."

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