Saturday was the last day that Brandon Phillips will be in the Cincinnati Reds Spring Training Camp for a while as he now heads to join his fellow countrymen for the World Baseball Classic.
Phillips has gotten much more of an increased workload this spring than he’s used to. In 14 plate appearances this spring, he’s gone 4-for-14 with two doubles. He is the likely candidate to start at second base, but he’s not sure about much he’ll play in the WBC.
“I just know I’m going to have red, white, and blue on my chest,” said Phillips. I’m going to go out there and try to win. If I play nine, I play nine. Am I ready for nine? Hell, no. But when you’re on TV and representing your country, you get used to it.”
Interestingly, when Phillips was 15, he was the batboy for Team USA in the 1996 Olympics in his hometown of Atlanta, GA.
When USA manager Joe Torre called Phillips initially to tell him he was on the team, the All-Star was beyond excited.
“I had called [Phillips], left him a message and he called me back,” said Torre. “I’m not sure he knew it was an invitation. He thought I was sort of on a fact-finding mission. Then when I did assure him that I wanted him to play second base, he got excited and said, ‘Can I tweet about this?”
Torre said he would like into it with his teenage daughter because he wasn’t too sure what Twitter was, and once he found out Torre told Phillips, “Sure go ahead, tweet away, tweet away.”
The United States is scheduled to play exhibition games on March 5th against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch and on March 6th against the Rockies at Salt River Field.
From March 8-10th, the U.S. will enter pool play against Mexico, Italy, and Canada. Those games will be played at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks- Chase Field.