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News » Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-03-01

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-03-01

Philadelphia Phillies Inside Pitch 2009-03-01
For weeks, Shane Victorino has insisted he's focused more on preparing to play for the Phillies this season than possibly being named to the United States' team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

That doesn't mean, though, that he isn't interested in wearing red, white and blue.

So, upon arriving Feb. 27 at Ed Smith Stadium for the Phillies' spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds, Victorino spoke to Team USA manager Davey Johnson, who asked him to join the team as a replacement for injured Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore.

"Am I going to get at-bats?" Victorino asked.

"I wasn't trying to be a jerk or anything," he said later. "But I'm not one of those guys, like some of the other superstars on the team, that's that good that they can just take the time off. I want to make sure I'm prepared for the season. Davey said, 'Yeah, with only four outfielders, you'll definitely get an opportunity. You'll get your at-bats.'"

With that, Victorino, a Hawaii native, agreed to play for the USA.

Victorino, who established himself as an everyday center fielder last season by batting .293 with 14 home runs, 58 RBIs and 36 stolen bases, is expected to split time with Detroit's Curtis Granderson. He was included on the provisional roster, but Granderson, Sizemore, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Colorado's Brad Hawpe were the only outfielders named to the team on Feb. 24.

Team USA, which shortstop Jimmy Rollins, will gather Monday at the Phillies' complex in Clearwater, Fla., and play exhibitions against the Yankees (March 3 at Tampa), Blue Jays (March 4 at Dunedin, Fla.) and Phillies (March 5 at Clearwater, Fla.) before opening the tournament March 7 in Toronto against Team Canada.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity," Victorino said. "It should be fun."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 1, 2009

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