Lakeland, Fla. — As several of his teammates make their way back to TigerTown after competing in the World Baseball Classic, Alex Wilson is still waiting for his call.
“It is what it is,” said Wilson, who was selected to the pitchers’ pool for Team USA. “They have their guys right now. Everybody, as a whole, has thrown pretty well. Most of the guys got just one appearance. It’s not like anybody got worn down.”
Wilson is still holding out hope for a third-round invite, but he’s not holding his breath.
“I’d love to be there,” he said. “It’s definitely an experience I’d like to have. Hopefully they get out of this round and I get a call for the last one. It’s an experience those guys will never forget and one I hope to have.”
Efren Navarro, the Tigers’ non-roster invite who was one of the standouts for Team Mexico, was back in the clubhouse Wednesday, looking no worse for wear given the controversial way his team was ousted.
“It’s my second go-around at the WBC, but I had a blast,” he said. “Obviously, the results weren’t there, but I wish Puerto Rico and Venezuela the best in the second round.”
Given how Mexico was eliminated, it was amazing that Navarro could say that last sentence in earnest. Mexico beat Venezuela in the elimination game and for a brief time thought they had advanced to the second round.
It was later determined that Venezuela would advance based on a vague tie-breaker rule using runs per inning.
“There are a lot of rules,” Navarro said. “It was hard for me to keep up. As Team Mexico, we’re upset just for the fact that we didn’t perform better. We had a really good team, a solid team that we thought we could do something with.
“Obviously, with the WBC, you don’t know what to expect and every game was thrilling.”
Navarro, who will likely play first base at Toledo to start the season, played left field for Mexico and went 4 for 9 in the three games.
“There just has to be better clarification over that one rule that went down,” Navarro said. “But everything else went smooth. I was pleased with how everything was taken care of as far as family and hotel and all of that.
“There’s always going to be something people aren’t going to be happy with. But overall, the WBC is a great experience.”
Right-handed pitchers William Cuevas (Colombia) and Dustin Molleken (Canada) were back Wednesday. Right-hander Warwick Saupold (Australia) was back Sunday.
Right-hander Arcenio Leon (minor league camp) was called by Team Venezuela to pitch in round two. Meanwhile, Alex Wilson carries on in Lakeland.
“Nah, I am not frustrated,” he said. “It’s an honor just to be on the roster. I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be there, but just being on the roster – I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t completely surprised by the gesture of them reaching out to me.
“But I feel good, just going about my business like it’s another day. If my phone rings, then it rings. If not, I’ll show up in early April in Detroit and be ready to rock.”