Teixeira, Young tabbed for Team USA
Rangers one of eight clubs with multiple representatives
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Mark Teixeira is one of two pure first basemen named to the U.S. squad. (Ben Margot/AP)
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SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The reigning American League batting champion and a first baseman who won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at his position are among the 30 players who will represent the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira and shortstop Michael Young were among those who were named to the team by manager Buck Martinez on Tuesday.
"It's very exciting," Teixeira said after a workout at the Rangers' Spring Training complex. "This is great, this is what we've been waiting to happen for years and it's finally coming true."
Both were told months ago that they would be on the team.
Teixeira batted .301 with 43 home runs, 112 runs scored and 144 RBIs in 2005, while Young led the AL with a .331 average in addition to scoring 114 runs, hitting 24 home runs and driving in 91 runs.
Both were selected to the AL All-Star team last July in Detroit and both made it clear at the time they were looking forward to playing in the WBC.
"As soon as it was announced, I told my agent to call Team USA and tell them I wanted to be in the WBC," Young said.
Young has spent the past two years playing shortstop for the Rangers but is expected to play at least some second base for the U.S. team in the WBC.
"I expect to play a little bit of both," Young said. "Initially they told me that I would get my playing time at second base, but then Jimmy Rollins dropped out so I'm the only guy on the roster who can play both. I don't care where I play; I just want to be able to help the team as much as possible."
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was also named to the team as part of an infield that also includes Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
"The infield is loaded," Young said. "It's pretty incredible. I've been lucky to play with some pretty talented infielders in my career and this is no different. Every player is talented. It's a pretty unique set of circumstances."
Teixeira will be at first base along with Derrek Lee, the Chicago Cubs first baseman. Lee is also coming off a tremendous season, leading the National League with a .335 average along with 46 home runs and 107 RBIs.
Like Teixeira, he was an All-Star, Gold Glove defender and Silver Slugger winner.
"From my understanding, everybody is going to get at-bats," Teixeira said. "But ultimately it's going to come down to who's performing the best. It's going to be extremely competitive but we're competing for the same thing. If he's doing well, I would want to see him out there performing and I'm sure he'll feel the same about me."
The U.S. begins workouts on March 3 and the first game is March 7 against Mexico. But Teixeira is already working out at Texas' complex in Arizona even though position players don't have to report for another week.
"I'm just speeding up my program," Teixeira said. "I'd like to go out there and perform well, so I'm doing the things that will get me ready, taking more swings, running more."
Young, well-known for his intense offseason regimen, has been working out at his home in Southern California. He is planning to join the Rangers on Friday.