A crowded Chicago White Sox clubhouse will feel a little less cramped in a few weeks when a handful of players leave to join their World Baseball Classic teams.
Alex Rios (Puerto Rico), Jesse Crain (Canada) and Andre Rienzo (Brazil) all will be stepping away for a team and won’t return until their teams are eliminated from the world-wide tournament that pits 16 baseball-playing countries against each other.
A fourth White Sox player, infielder Andy Gonzalez, will also play for Puerto Rico, but he isn’t in big league camp.
“It’s something every ball player looks forward to, playing for your country and play in front of your crowd,” Rios said. “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.”
This spring will be the third time the WBC has been held with Rios and Crain playing for their countries al three times.
“I don’t think it affects me very much,” Crain said. “For a bullpen guy, it’s a lot easier. I’ll throw an inning at a time. I won’t throw two days in a row. I’ll get three games in before I go so it’s not going to be too much different. Whenever I go out there, whether it’s spring training or in a regular game, I go out with the same intensity no matter what.”
Rios has reported in camp early to get a jumpstart on preparation before leaving.
White Sox players set for WBC
ESPN.com | Feb 14