VIERA, Fla. — As a kid growing up in St. Louis, Ross Detwiler tuned into Cardinals games an awful lot. And the man he saw leading those Cardinals throughout the early 1990s was Joe Torre.
On Tuesday, Detwiler committed to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. And the man he watched on television managing those Cardinals will now be just down the bench from him, managing him.
“It was the manager that I watched every night,” Detwiler said. “Being able to be in the same uniform on the same bench as him is kind of, you grow up dreaming about stuff like that.”
Detwiler becomes the second Nationals starter to join Team USA in the last two weeks, joining Gio Gonzalez on the roster, though Gonzalez will miss the first round of the tournament and meet the team in Miami should they advance to the second round.
“I’m really excited to do it,” Detwiler said. “I get to represent my country in a baseball uniform. There’s nothing better than that.”
“We feel it’s our duty and our obligation to put our best team forward that we can for Team USA,” said general manager Mike Rizzo. “We’re honored that they want two of our starting pitchers to pitch for Team USA, and we’re flattered about it.
“I know Ross is really fired up for it and really wanted to do it. We’ll work around that schedule and make sure he’s prepared for our major-league season. But we feel it’s great that we have two Nationals representing Team USA in the starting rotation.”
Detwiler, who played for Team USA as a college athlete during the summer of 2006, said that tournament is one of his fondest memories. He has the ring from the championship they won in Cuba on his nightstand and looks at it often when he’s at home in St. Louis.
“It’s been a pretty good offseason with getting married, the USO tour and I got to represent my country again,” Detwiler said. “I think I’m peaking a little early here.”