One Red Sox player is confirmed for Team USA, and he thankfully isn't a pitcher.
While the entire roster won't be known until Thursday, when it's officially announced, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that new Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will participate in the World Baseball Classic. Victorino, a native Hawaiian, will represent Team USA.
According to Heyman, Victorino didn't wait to be chosen, and instead volunteered himself for the gig:
Victorino considered it such an honor that he is said to have called up Torre and volunteered. His style, speedy and aggressive, is thought to fit the international game. That, combined with his enthusiasm, won him a spot in a star-studded outfield, though likely as a bench player considering the cache of the top outfielders playing.
Shane Victorino, American, patriot, and lover of any excuse to play baseball that counts.
As he's an outfielder, the level of concern over his participation isn't at the high levels it would be were he a Red Sox pitcher. In some ways, it's a positive that he's been selected to play, and is allowed to play, as many with lingering injury concerns have not been cleared for the roster. Victorino, who dealt with a few minor dings in 2012, can likely be considered healthy heading into the new season given he is suiting up for the USA.
The one concern -- also minor -- is that Victorino is likely going to be a bench player. This will cut into playing time he likely would have had were he just to stick with the Red Sox all spring. At the same time, though, it should open additional at-bats for the likes of Ryan Kalish. A strong spring could be the start of something bigger for him in a year in which he needs to prove himself.
Speaking of players who get hurt and play hard all the time, Rob Bradford confirms that Dustin Pedroia will not be participating in the WBC. Exhale!
We'll know the full extent of the Red Sox' participation in the World Baseball Classic later this week.