Following Sunday’s spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies will turn in his purple for the red, white and blue.
Arenado’s time on Sunday manning his usual position at third base for the Rockies will be his last before departing to join Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The American contingent opens Pool C play on March 10 against Colombia in Miami. Joining the United States and Colombia in Pool C will be Canada and the Dominican Republic.
“I’m real excited but I’m focusing on getting ready here,” Arenado said after playing in Saturday’s home contest against the Seattle Mariners. “I have one more game left. I have to do what I need to do to keep myself ready, but there’s a lot of excitement going into it. It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to play with those guys and play against some of the teams across the world.”
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It will be Arenado’s first experience on the World Baseball Classic stage. It’s also caused this spring to be different than any other spring training the 25-year-old Arenado has participated in so far. However, the always intense four-time Gold Glove winner is looking forward to experiencing a new level of competition on the world stage.
“It’s definitely different,” Arenado said of his spring schedule. “The intensity is going to go up way up now. That’s OK. I’m OK with that. I kind of take spring training serious anyway so I don’t feel like it will be that big of a difference. It’ll be like playoff games right away. I wouldn’t know but that’s what it seems like. Everyone talks about it like that so I’ll be ready.”
On Saturday, Arenado talked about what he expected from the World Baseball Classic while sitting next to Carlos Gonzalez in Colorado’s spring locker room. If CarGo’s Venezuela squad can qualify through Pool D and the Americans can advance through Pool C, the two teammates could meet up in San Diego beginning on March 14.
So has CarGo or any of his future Team USA teammates given Arenado any hint about what to expect?
“They’ve told me some things. They’re excited,” Arenado said. “They’ve told me it’s one of the best times they’ve ever had so I’m excited and looking forward to being a part of it.”