Although some coaches and players view the World Baseball Classic as a threat to the regular season, six San Diego Padres members thought the decision to compete for their countries was a no-brainer.
“It wasn’t really much of a decision,” reliever Luke Gregerson told MLB.com. “It’s a great opportunity to represent your team and your country.”
Gregerson will represent the USA in the Classic and will have the opportunity to play against his teammate Chris Denorfia. The outfielder, who will be playing for Italy, is not a stranger to the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s a lot of fun,” second time pick Denorfia said to MLB.com. “It’s a reminder of how much fun it is to play baseball as an adult. Putting on the jersey and having a country’s name across your chest changes the way you think about a normal game on March 8 or 9. It turns up the intensity.”
Pitcher Edinson Volquez (Dominican Republic), infielder Jesus Merchan (Spain), outfielder Corey Adamson (Australia) and pitcher Mark Hardy (Canada) were also chosen to join in the Classic.
Manager Bud Black does not believe the Classic will be a problem for his players and knows they are in for an exciting experience.
“The guys I have been around that have been a part of it, enjoyed it,” Black told MLB.com. “It’s like an All-Star team, and All-Star teams are fun.”
The first round of the World Baseball Classic will begin the first weekend in March. Gregerson will face Denorfia on March 9 in Phoenix, Ariz.