A week ago, Royals left-handed reliever Tim Collins had no idea he was going to be a member of Team USA for the World Baseball Classic.
Collins said he got a call from the players’ association on Tuesday saying Team USA manager Joe Torre was considering choosing Collins for the WBC, which is March 2-19.
“I gave him a maybe at first,” Collins said. “I wanted to see what the Royals thought about it and get their opinions. I really respect the organization and I wanted to go about this without stepping on any toes. At first, I wanted to see where the Royals stood with this whole WBC tournament and go from there, make my decision.
“I spoke with Dayton (Moore) and Ned (Yost) and Dave (Eiland) and they couldn’t have been more happy. Obviously, there are some risks with it, and they made note of it. But their thoughts were there is risk in everything. You can get hurt working out in the offseason, so they thought this was a good opportunity and they were really excited.”
By Thursday, Collins heard his name announced as a member of Team USA's provisional roster.
Collins said he is proud to be a member of Team USA, and he’s looking forward to chatting with the team’s pitching coach.
That’s Greg Maddux, who won 355 career games and four Cy Young awards.
“We see George Brett a lot at spring training and even in the season I know the hitters pick his brain a lot. It’s tough for a pitcher to take him aside and ask what he’s thinking,” Collins said. “Whenever you get a guy like (Maddux) who’s there to pick his brain, it’s a pretty awesome experience.”
| Pete Grathoff, firstname.lastname@example.org