Former MVP Justin Morneau leads Canada in baseball Olympic qualifier

Former American League most valuable player Justin Morneau and ex-AL all-star Michael Saunders highlight Canada’s roster for the WBSC Premier 12 next month.

The 12-team, $5.2-million US event, Nov. 2-17, also serves as a 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifier. One spot goes to the highest-placed finisher from the Americas and one will be awarded to the highest finisher in the Super Round/Finals from the Asia/Oceania region.

Morneau, a 38-year-old first baseman from New Westminster, B.C., hasn’t played in the major leagues since 2016. His MVP campaign came in 2006 with the Minnesota Twins, one of Morneau’s 14 seasons in the majors.

Saunders, a 32-year-old outfielder from Victoria, was an all-star in 2016 with the Toronto Blue Jays. He last played in the majors in 2017.

The roster includes 11 players with major-league experience, including recent Toronto Blue Jays September callup Dalton Pompey of Mississauga, Ont.

Fourteen members of the team helped Canada win silver this summer at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.