By Alan Walsh
Brandon Phillips is entering his eleventh year in the big leagues and is looking not only to make an impact for his ball club in Cincinnati, but for his country as well.
The career .273 hitter initially wasn’t willing to be a part of the team, but after a discussion with USA manager, Joe Torre, he decided to join the United States National Team for the upcoming World Baseball Classic this offseason.
“To tell you the truth, I was going back and forth on doing it,” Phillips said to AP Baseball Writer, Joe Kay. “I didn’t know if I really wanted to play in the WBC to begin with. In my conversation with Torre, he convinced me to really do it.”
His main concern was getting injured or having a slow start to the regular season because it would have meant an alteration to his usual training regimen. With the WBC games starting on March 8th, this new preparation will surely throw off the overall mentality of the players in this tournament, but Phillips will be ready.
“I started a little bit earlier this year so I don’t look stupid on TV,” Phillips said. “I know Spring Training is all about preparing for the season. This is about going out there and competing and winning for the country. It’s a little different program, different than what I’ve been doing every year.”
I can’t wait to wear the red, white, and blue on my chest,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Cincinnati won the NL Central last year with a 97-65 regular season- one game back of the Washington Nationals for best record in the league. They opened up their NLDS series with a 2-0 lead against the eventual World Series champion, San Francisco Giants, but weren’t able to close them out.
Last year was only the second year since 1995 that the Reds have made the playoffs, but Phillips and the rest of the team are very excited about the prospect of the upcoming season. With Aroldis Chapman moving into the starting rotation, that might be exactly what the Reds need to get them over the hump.
In 2012, Phillips batted .281 with 18HRs and 77RBIs.