Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun has decided he will play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic that begins March 7.
This is certainly good news for Team USA, as well as Brewers’ fans because Braun is one of the best in the business at the plate and playing in the WBC will better prepare him for the 2013 MLB season. It is no surprise that he will be joining the team considering the numbers he has put up the last couple of seasons, including his National League Most Valuable Player performance in 2011.
Braun played in the 2009 WBC in which Team USA finished fourth after being eliminated by Japan in the second semi-final. Japan, of course, would go on to win the WBC. Braun played very well for his country as he batted .381 with one home run, two RBIs, three runs scored and touched 13 total bases in 21 plate appearances.
MLB spring training will start earlier this year so players such as Braun can begin preparation for the tournament. However, a perfectionist like Braun has already begun his training as he is determined to help get Team USA their first medal in the WBC.
“I actually started my baseball activities a little bit earlier than I usually do because I’m going to play in the World Baseball Classic this year,” said Braun. “So, I have to get myself prepared a little sooner, a little quicker than I usually do.”
Hopefully, this preparation will not tire Braun out but instead get him revved up for his season with the Brewers in which Milwaukee is hoping to return to the postseason after rebuilding their horrendous bullpen.
The Brewers are also hoping that the organization’s several other players participating in the WBC will come out of it warmed up and ready to go once opening day comes around. Starters Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada will play for Team Mexico while closer John Axford and reliever Jim Henderson are expected to pitch for Team Canada.
Make sure to mark your calendar for the start of the WBC as Team USA will participate in the first round of competition at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ the weekend of March 7-10.