Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy thinks major league players will be lining up in four years to play for Team USA in the 2021 World Baseball Classic.
Lucroy, who was behind the plate for USA’s first-ever WBC championship Wednesday night, doesn’t understand how a position player would turned down the chance to play for their country. He and closer Sam Dyson returned to Rangers’ camp Friday morning.
“It’s an experience unlike any other. I’ve done it twice now,” said Lucroy, who also played for Team USA in 2013. “It’s a [special] feeling when you put that jersey on with USA across the front or whatever country you’re with, it’s a pride thing. It’s a feeling you can’t replicate anywhere else because you’re playing for something a lot greater than yourself, because you’re playing for your country.”
If any players turn it down next time I think they need to look in the mirror and check themselves a little bit.
Rangers C Jonathan Lucroy
Lucroy understands starting pitchers being leery of a month-long commitment smack in the middle of spring training with arm injuries, big and small, happen at such an alarming rate. But position players? Lucroy can’t fathom saying no.
“If any players turn it down next time I think they need to look in the mirror and check themselves a little bit,” he said.
Lucroy wore a specially-made red, white and blue (with stars) chest protector during the tournament. Although it would match his Rangers’ jersey, he’ll have it framed instead. It has a little too much panache for 162-game major league season, he said.
“I could [wear it], it does match,” he said. “It’s pretty flairy. I’m an under the radar guy, I’m not a flair guy.”
.294 Batting average for Jonathan Lucroy in four games for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He split time with Buster Posey.
Lucroy was back at it with the Rangers Friday. He was scheduled to catch Yu Darvish’s minor league start on the backfields. He’s not worried about needing to catch up with his pitching staff.
“ I’m already up to speed game-wise. I’ve caught everyone of them. I’ve seen them all. I’m pretty confident it’s going to be an easy transition getting back into it,” said Lucroy, who isn’t concerned about any sort of emotional letdown after such an intense tournament. “I’ve been doing this long enough now if I don’t know how to compete at a high level I shouldn’t be here. It was an awesome two and a half weeks but its’ back to work with the Rangers and getting ready for the season.”