For the second time in four years, Jimmy Rollins will represent Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Rollins was the lone Phillies player listed when the WBC’s American roster was unveiled on Thursday morning. Rollins also played for Team USA in 2009, the second go-round of the Olympic-style, early-spring baseball tournament.
With Derek Jeter and Troy Tulowitzki coming off injuries, Rollins was somewhat of an obvious choice for Team USA. The 34-year-old won his fourth Gold Glove in 2012.
Worth noting: Rollins struggled offensively coming off his last WBC appearance.
He was benched in late June while carrying a batting average that hovered near the Mendoza line. Rollins finished the season at .250, but with a career-low .296 on-base percentage.
Not surprisingly, the Phillies did not lose any of their starting pitchers to the tournament. Most veteran pitchers shy away from competing in the tournament in an effort to stay on their normal spring routines.
The only starting pitchers on the Team USA roster are Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, San Francisco righthander and Philadelphia-area product Ryan Vogelsong, Atlanta’s Kris Medlen and Texas’s Derek Holland. Even if Cole Hamels had been asked, his early winter shoulder issue (no longer a problem) would have been an easy excuse to decline an invite.
Somewhat surprisingly, Jonathan Papelbon will not pitch for Team USA. Papelbon has racked up 257 saves in the last 7 seasons.
Among the relievers on the roster: Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel, Cleveland’s Chris Perez and Arizona’s Heath Bell.
Former Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino will also compete for Team USA.
In 2009, Rollins and Victorino were among three Phillies position players who competed in the WBC. Carlos Ruiz played for Team Panama; Panama did not qualify for the tournament this year.
The Phils could stand to lose a few others to World Baseball Class rosters, including reliever Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and infielder Pete Orr (Team Canada) and infielder Freddy Galvis (Team Venezuela).