Veras thrilled to represent his country

Astros closer Jose Veras was beaming with pride Friday morning at the thought of being able to represent his native Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic. Veras was on the Dominican roster that was released Thursday.

“You can’t explain the feeling any player can have to represent their flag,” he said. “I think it’s going to be wonderful.”

Veras said he made the decision to play earlier this week after getting approval from general manager Jeff Luhnow. It’s special to Veras, considering he wasn’t allowed to play in the 2009 Classic.

“I was supposed to play in the last one, but the Yankees didn’t let me for a couple of circumstances,” Veras said

Veras, 32, went 5-4 with a 3.63 earned run average last season in 72 games and 67 innings for Milwaukee before signing a one-year deal with Houston. He knows this will be his final opportunity to play in the tournament.

“It’s probably going to be my last chance,” he said. “My next one I’ll be 36, 37 and I don’t know if they’ll give me an opportunity, so this is my chance to do it.”

Astros right-hander Rhiner Cruz (Spain), left-hander Xavier Cedeno (Puerto Rico) and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin (Chinese Taipei) also appeared on final rosters, as expected. Lin left camp Wednesday to train with his team. Minor League pitcher Murilo Gouvea is on Brazil’s final roster.

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