WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Considering he'll be the youngest player on the star-studded team representing the United States at the World Baseball Classic, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman may actually be like a kid in a candy store when he joins Team USA for workouts later this week in
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Considering he'll be the youngest player on the star-studded team representing the United States at the World Baseball Classic, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman may actually be like a kid in a candy store when he joins Team USA for workouts later this week in Miami.
Bregman, 22, walked in his final Grapefruit League game on Monday, a 5-5 tie between the Astros and Red Sox, before heading south to begin workouts. The United States, whose best finish in the tournament was fourth in 2009, opens Pool C play on Friday against Colombia in Miami, a short drive for Bregman and teammate Luke Gregerson.
"I'm excited," said Bregman, who represented the United States in this past year's All-Star Futures Game. "It's an honor to be able to represent our country, and I'll go out there and play hard for the USA."
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Bregman has also represented the U.S. in the 16U Pan American championships in 2010, the 18U Pan American championships in '11 and the collegiate national team in '13. Bregman, who is 7-for-23 in seven games for the Astros this spring, figures to play some third and shortstop for Team USA, but he'll be in line behind All-Star and Gold Glove winners with the Giants' Brandon Crawford at short and the Rockies' Nolan Arenado at third. Bregman played shortstop at LSU and was moved to third base in Houston with Carlos Correa entrenched at shortstop.
"I'm looking forward to talking to some of the infielders and figuring out what they do defensively, some of the guys at the plate, asking them what helps them," Bregman said. "Really just pick their brains and figure out what I can use to improve my game."
Bregman, who has just 49 big league games under his belt, knows only a few of his future teammates, including Paul Goldschmidt and Christian Yelich. He's looking forward to bending Crawford's ear.
"I want to meet Brandon Crawford and just pick his brain and figure out what helps him out on the defensive side of the ball," Bregman said. "I'm really looking forward to it. He's an elite defender, a Gold Glover, and I can't wait to get to see him."
The United States is a favorite to at least advance out of Pool C, which also features Colombia, Canada and the Dominican Republic.
"I definitely like our chances," Bregman said. "I think we've got a good squad, but it just comes down to going out there and playing the game and getting the clutch hits, making the clutch plays and making the pitches. I'm looking forward to being a part of that team and competing."
Bregman was the last of the eight Astros players to leave camp for the Classic. The others are second baseman Jose Altuve (Venezuela), shortstop Carlos Correa (Puerto Rico), designated hitter Carlos Beltran (Puerto Rico), outfielder Norichika Aoki (Japan) and pitchers Kevin Chapman (Canada), Dayan Diaz (Colombia) and Gregerson.
The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.