According to Ken Rosenthal, Josh Harrison will join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He will likely replace Matt Carpenter of the St Louis Cardinals on the roster. The Pittsburgh Pirates said that Harrison won’t comment on going to the WBC until the move is officially announced. Harrison will join Andrew McCutchen as members of Team USA. Earlier this week, the Pirates announced that McCutchen will leave to join Team USA on Sunday, so expect the same for Harrison.
Team USA begins their WBC play on March 10th against Colombia in Miami. They will face the Dominican Republic the following day, then Team Canada on the 12th. After that, the rest of the schedule is up in the air. Team USA will play an exhibition game on Wednesday against the Twins and another on Thursday versus the Red Sox before the tournament begins. The Pirates will host the Dominican Republic team on Wednesday, with Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte on the Dominican roster.
UPDATE from Tim Williams in Bradenton: Harrison just met with the media here to discuss the assignment. He said that he found out yesterday when Joe Torre gave him a call, asking if he was interested. He doesn’t know his role yet, since they’ve only talked about interest so far. However, he might find out more over the next few days.
“[I am] obviously excited,” Harrison said. “It’s an extreme honor. Something that doesn’t come very often, so definitely excited to put on the colors and play with the other guys.”
Here are some other thoughts from Harrison on the assignment:
**On playing for Jim Leyland: “I’m excited. I actually got to see Jim the other day when we went to Lakeland. Shook his hand and gave him a hug. Didn’t know that wouldn’t be the last time to see him. I’ll get the chance to give him another handshake and play for Team USA.”
**On Andrew McCutchen being on the same team: “Any time you can play with one of your teammates and one of your best friends, it’s always going to make it easier. But at the end of the day, we get to play with a great group of guys. It’s easier to go through something that you’ve never been through before with somebody that you know.”
**Is he ready, despite a lack of prep time for the event? “I’m in a good place. A lot of it came with the offseason. Just getting my body ready, staying healthy. I was prepared to play in spring games. When I got the call, it wasn’t anything that I was apprehensive about, saying I’m not ready. I felt good the first couple of games.”