As the World Baseball Classic approaches, Alex Rios (Puerto Rico), Jesse Crain (Canada) and Andre Rienzo (Brazil) will all be away from the Chicago White Sox until their teams are eliminated from the tournament. Infielder Andy Gonzalez (Puerto Rico) will make a fourth White Sox player in the WBC, but he isn’t in the big league camp.
This will be the third time Rios and Crain are playing for their countries.
“It’s something every ball player looks forward to, playing for your country and play in front of your crowd,” Rios told ESPN.com. “I think everybody should be proud. I am proud. I will be proud if I play. But it’s something that’s fun do to.”
To prepare for before leaving for the WBC, Rios has reported to training camp early.
Matt Thornton played in the World Baseball Classic experience in 2009,where he pitched in five games for Team USA, but has decided to turn down the offer for this year. Thornton said he loved the WBC and it was an honor to be a part of the team, but it was in his best interest to say no.
“Just one of those things that it was a choice I made,” Thornton said in an article on the Chicago White Sox website. “I felt with the workload I’ve had over the last four or five years and the way I felt at the end of the year, the way I was struggling in back-to-back outings, it was something in my best interest and the team’s best interest to avoid this year.
Rienzo will play for the White Sox on Feb. 26 and then has to fly to Fukuokato play in Brazil’s opener on March 2 against Japan. For Rios and Gonzalez, their first game is March 8 at San Juan against Spain. Crain’s first game is March 8 against Italy.