The Cuban National Baseball Team is back on the Ottawa Champions schedule for a second straight season in 2017. The Cubans are slated to tangle with the 2016 winners of the Can-Am League on Father’s Day weekend from June 16-18. Cuba won’t be the only international squad taking to the diamond at RCGT Park and the fields of the rest of the Can-Am circuit. They’ll be joined by the Yeoncheon Miracle of South Korea. The Miracle will visit the Champions from June 27th-29th during the two touring ballclubs’ run from June 8th-29th through the six communities that make up the independent league.

Cubans went 11-9 versus Can-Am League in 2016

In 2016, the Cuban National Team played 20 games in the Can-Am League when they put together an overall record of 11-9.

This year they will be following their appearance in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), which happens this March. The Cubans earned the bronze medal in the last WBC in 2006. The Yeoncheon Miracle will arrive in Ottawa as South Korea’s top-rated team that’s not in the country’s Korea Baseball Organization. “Our fans really responded well when the Cuban National Team toured the league last year, and we expect they’ll be excited to see them again,” said Champions owner and Can-Am League commissioner Miles Wolff in a press release. “The addition of the Yeoncheon Miracle gives the fans an opportunity to experience a style of play they probably haven’t seen before.”

Champions make three roster moves

Meanwhile, the Champions made some roster moves that included the signing of shortstop Daniel Bick, relief pitcher Andrew Cooper, and the trading of reliever Tyler Wilson.

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The slick-fielding Bick returns for a third season after batting .205 with 12 runs batted in and 10 steals. Bick brought his A-game to the plate in the playoffs when he stroked to the tune of a solid .286 average and found some power by blasting a pair of longballs in the 10-games it took the Champions to claim their first Can-Am League title. During his three years of regular season play, Bick has recorded a .235 average with one homer, 34 RBI and 27 stolen bases. He has provided Ottawa with outstanding up the middle defense with several second base partners.

Cooper pitched in 33 games for Ottawa last season, posting a 2-2 win-loss record with a 4.35 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 51.2 innings pitched. He appeared a pair of playoff tilts, including Game 3 of the final versus the Rockland Boulders, where he got the victory in a wild 12-inning affair. Wilson packed his bags and will join the Long Island Ducks after being sent out for future considerations. He was the Champions last year, saving 14 games and recording a 3-4 record and 2.08 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 47.2 innings pitched.

In the playoff stretch, Wilson gave up no runs over 6.2 innings during five games. His gutsiest performance came when he earned a save in Game 2 of the semi-finals against the New Jersey Jackals. The transaction reunites Wilson with former Champions pitching coach Billy Horn, who took over the same job for Long Island last month.