Torre said he had the same reaction back in 2006 when the first World Baseball Classic was held.
“I’m manager of the Yankees and I’m saying, ‘Oh my goodness, what is this all about?’ Because they’re taking our players away.”
Now, he steps away from his duties as executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office to try to build a winning team while at the same time giving the players, especially the pitchers, the same amount of work they’d get if they stayed in spring training. Torre has enlisted retired pitching great Greg Maddux to help him.
“Greg has talked to each and every one of them to get their ideas about what they want to get accomplished,” Torre said.
Team USA will have a workout on March 4 in Scottsdale, followed by exhibition games against the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies before beginning round-robin play March 8 against Mexico. Canada and Italy are the other two teams in the group. Team USA’s round-robin games are at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The second round will be held in Miami, with the semifinals and finals set for AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Torre said he has spoken to every player involved with the team.
“I wanted to gauge not only the interest but the excitement of playing with ‘USA’ across your chest,” he said.
He said every player, including a few who wound up bowing out, said that was the greatest enticement to participate.
“I feel pretty comfortable with the team we’ve put together,” Torre said, “based on the fact, ability for one, and the fact that I think they’re going to be ready to do this when we need to.”
The U.S. roster includes outfielders Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, Giancarlo Stanton, Shane Victorino and Ben Zobrist; infielders Willie Bloomquist, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins, Mark Teixeira and David Wright; and catchers J.P. Arencibia, Jonathan Lucroy and Joe Mauer.