SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Former Saint Xavier University (Ill.) standout and current San Diego Padres reliever Luke Gregerson (Lyons, Ill./Morton) was recently selected to represent the United States on Team USA for the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic (WBC) scheduled to take place from March 2-19 at multiple sites around the world. Gregerson was named as a relief pitcher and will join several other Major League Baseball (MLB) players on the 23-man provisional roster, which will be officially announced along with the rosters for the other 15 participating teams on Thursday, January 17, on the MLB Network. Joe Torre, who guided the New York Yankees to four World Series Championships and also managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008-10, will serve as the manager for Team USA. Legendary former Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves hurler Greg Maddox will work directly with Gregerson as Team USA's pitching coach.
"It was amazing for me to get a personal call from Joe Torre and be asked to be a part of Team USA," said Gregerson. "To see the core of players who were selected for this year's team and then to realize that I will be one of them is a complete dream come true. I'm extremely honored and excited. Getting the chance to represent the United States in this tournament and be coached by baseball legends like Torre and Greg Maddux is still hard for me to believe. I'm so grateful for this special opportunity."
Joining Gregerson on the Team USA roster are: Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey, New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte and first baseman Mark Teixeira, New York Mets third baseman David Wright, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Boston Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino. Team USA begins WBC play in a first-round group with Mexico, Italy and Canada from March 8-10 at Chase Field in Phoenix. The top two teams from the group advance to a second-round pool that will be played at Marlins Park in Miami from March 12-16. The tournament's semifinals and final will be played March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) is an international baseball tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and created by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. It is the main tournament sanctioned by the IBAF, which names its winner the "World Champion." The tournament is the first of its kind to have national baseball teams feature professional players from the major leagues around the world. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the WBC was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.