The Kansas City Royals rebuilt their rotation this offseason, leaving Bruce Chen to compete for a spot in order to continue being a starter for the team. On Tuesday, Chen removed himself from the rotation. Not for the Royals, but for the team being fielded by China for the World Baseball Classic.
Many players have expressed interest in playing for their respective national teams during this year’s exhibition of top players from around the world. Bruce Chen was excited to announce that he would join team China for the March tournament.
Chen has pitched in past WBC tournaments for his native country, Panama, who failed to qualify for this year’s competition. Chen, who was born in Panama, is the grandchild of two Chinese immigrants who moved to Panama to work on the Panama Canal, eventually settling into permanent residence in the country that became the birthplace of the Royals’ pitcher.
During a January interview, Chen expressed what an honor he considered it to be represent China:
“It would be a great way for me to represent my ancestry. Everyone knows I’m of Asian descent and it would be a tribute to my grandparents and a tribute to my ancestry.”
There was some question on whether or not Chen could pitch for China since he had previously expressed interest to pitch for the Panama team until they were eliminated in pool play. The process proved to be a long and drawn out affair that threatened Chen’s own preparation for the upcoming season.
On Tuesday, Chen shared with Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he had waited long enough and would withdraw his request. Dutton shared the news via his Twitter account:
It would seem that Chen either grew tired of the process or identified his need to be in camp with the Royals throughout Spring Training to ensure his spot in the rotation. With the overhauled look of the rotation this year, which will feature new comers Wade Davis, James Shields, and Ervin Santana as well as returning Jeremy Guthrie, Chen will be left to compete for the final spot in the rotation.
It appears he is taking that competition seriously and will give the Royals a long look at him going into 2013.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
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