On Monday, Texas Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy announced that he will play for Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. This will be his second appearance. In the 2013 World Baseball classic, he went 2-for-5 with one RBI.
Lucroy, 30, is the first catcher to accept his invitation to play for Team USA. San Francisco’s Buster Posey received an invitation, but his decision has not been made yet. If Posey decides to not participate, Lucroy will be the starting catcher.
On August 1st, the Texas Rangers acquired Lucroy from the Milwaukee Brewers. Lucroy hit .276, blasted 11 homers, and registered 31 RBIs in 47 games with the Rangers. The Rangers exercised their $5.25 million club option on Lucroy, thus making him the team’s primary catcher. However, Lucroy will miss a portion of Spring Training due to the tournament starting on March 7th.
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels is not too worried about Lucroy having to missing part of Spring Training. Daniels acknowledged the Rangers’ biggest concern is young talents competing for roster spots. However, veterans missing Spring Training is worrisome.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Derek Holland (USA), Jurickson Profar (Netherlands), Elvis Andrus ( Venezuela) and Nelson Cruz (Dominican Republic) all represented their countries. Cruz was still in a Rangers uniform at the time.
Andrus and Rougned Odor can possibly play for the Venezuelan team. It’s unclear when they will announce the rosters.
Shin-Soo Choo is part of the South Korean team’s roster, so he’ll miss a part of Spring Training, as well. In Choo’s case, that’s not a positive thing for the Rangers. Choo was on the disabled list four times last season and only played in 48 games. The Rangers would prefer Choo to attend full Spring Training that way he can be ready for the season. However, the Rangers cannot interfere in such situations.