J.P. Arencibia To Join Team USA In World Baseball Classic

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

For the MLB players who are lucky (and good) enough to be selected, the decision of whether to participate in the World Baseball Classic is a conundrum of risks vs. rewards – do you risk potential injury during the tournament? Will playing baseball at full speed against some of the world’s best ahead of the season provide a kickstart to the regular season?

That’s an easy question to answer for Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia, who will join his fellow countrymen on Team USA in the 2013 edition of the tournament – and is more than happy to do so:

Although Arencibia might end up spending much of the tournament on Team USA’s bench (the team is also set to announce Joe Mauer as its primary catcher), Arencibia’s participation should yield tangible benefits in that he will be provided additional opportunities to work with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who has confirmed that he will pitch for the American squad. Given that the two have never worked together professionally, and that catching a knuckleballer is something of an acquired knowledge, even for major-leaguers, Arencibia and Dickey will have their work cut out for them.

Fortunately for the Blue Jays, that work has already started:

Arencibia’s participation on Team USA will mean that he’ll get to work with Dickey from March 2 to 19, as opposed to going almost three weeks without catching a knuckleball; as a bonus, he may be joined by more Blue Jays pitchers as well: Team USA has not formally announced its roster yet, and won’t do so until Thursday, but are said to be considering both Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow as part of the team’s starting rotation.

If that is the case, that Arencibia will be with 3/5ths of the new-look Blue Jays rotation for those additional days should provide a head start to the work that they’ll be doing together for the bluebirds in ’13.

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