Cuba's baseball selectors told local radio and television late on Monday night that they had shortlisted 35 players from an initial list of 60 for the World Classic baseball contest round due March 8 to March 10 in Puerto Rico.
The choice was made after the larger selection of players had completed four rounds of training, played four games amongst themselves and three more with the Nicaraguan national team.
Trainers told the media that they had focused on striking the ball, a traditional Cuban weakness, often neglected on the island nation.
Higinio Velez, head of the team, said that only 30 of the 35 now selected will finally go to San Juan to start the tournament on Thursday.
He said he was pleased with the defense, speed, youth, versatility and good pitching demonstrated by his team, whose average age is 28.
The Cuban team will battle Holland, Panama and Puerto Rico in that order, starting on March 7 in the Hiram Bithorn stadium in San Juan.
A total of 16 teams will take part in the World Classic, a tournament organized by the United States's major leagues. It will begin on Friday in the Tokyo Dome, Japan, where Japan, Chinese Taipei, South Korea and China will fight it out for places in the final. The United States, Canada, Mexico and South Africa form another group competing in Pheonix of the United States, and the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia and Italy will do battle in Orlando, Florida.