DENVER — Kyle Freeland is used to striking out players as a Rockie.
But in March, he’ll try to do the same for Team USA, at the World Baseball Classic.
“It was awesome [to get the announcement],” said Freeland. “Having the opportunity just to one, even be considered for something like this, truly having your country call upon you to represent them in the world of sport, it’s a really cool feeling. You're representing where you’re from and your local community and then at the same time you’re representing the entire country and you wanna put your best foot forward.”
The Denver native is one of six Rockies who will play on baseball’s biggest world stage. It originally was seven, but Rockies ace German Marquez tweaked his hamstring and said he would instead rest and not play in the World Baseball Classic. Freeland will be teammates with Rockies closer Daniel Bard and potentially could pitch Elias Dias and Colombia, or Alan Trejo and Mexico.
“Bragging rights are on the line,” laughed Freeland. “It’s really fun to see all these guys buy in to represent their country. One of us is hopefully gonna come out on top.”
Freeland will also reunite with Nolan Arenado, for the first time since the big trade, “I’m super excited to be back playing with him once again. It’s been a couple years. Miss him, but to be able to share the field with him again is gonna be an honor because he’s a special talent.”
After going for a world championship, the focus for the Thomas Jefferson alum shifts back to spring training.
“It’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch the competition, and help start shaping our vision for this season. Getting everyone on the same page of ‘hey this is what we’re trying to do and we need to start doing it right now,’ because we’ve been going the wrong direction for two many years so it’s time to get going back in the right direction. ”
It’s no secret the Rockies were quiet this off-season, unlike the Dodgers and the Padres. Freeland says there’s only one way for him to look at it, “It’s an opportunity to do a major upset. Obviously the Dodgers have been reigning this division for a long time. Regardless of what we do or don’t do in the offseason, I still look at it as an opportunity to take down the goliath of the Dodgers and the Padres and start a new reign here in the NL West.”
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