Hill will start WBC opener

* RHP Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.) will start the WBC opener against Italy. RHP Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.) then faces Mexico and youngster Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Tex.) who has dual citizenship will face Team USA. .... 2012 Most Influential Canadians 2012 All-Canadian Team 2012 All-Canadian stats


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By Bob Elliott

DUNEDIN _ Right-hander Shawn Hill will face Italy in the opener of the World Baseball Classic March 8.

Then Team Canada will turn to Chris Leroux against Mexico.

And youngster Jameson Taillon will face Team USA in the third game of the round robin.

Hill, 31, is with the Detroit Tigers and no stranger to international competition starting the quarter-final game against Cuba in the 2004 Olympics, leaving with the lead. Hill was 11-2 with a 4.00 ERA in 20 starts at triple-A Las Vegas and York of the independent Atlantic League.

Leroux, 28, was 4-0 3.00 ERA after becoming a starter for the final seven starts at triple-A Indianapolis, as well as working out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen.

Taillon, 21, has had his fastball clocked at 97 MPH, was 9-8, with a 3.55 ERA, striking out 116 in 142 innings at class-A Bradenton and double-A Altoona.