SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – When asked about selecting the Royals’ Eric Hosmer over someone such as the Mets' Ike Davis to replace the injured Mark Teixeira on the Team USA roster for the World Baseball Classic, manager Joe Torre’s explanation on Wednesday went something like this:
Location, location, location.
Torre did offer two other specifications -- namely USA’s need for a lefthanded hitter and a good glove at first base – but Davis seemingly had the edge over Hosmer in those areas. Davis is excellent defensively, and with a career slash line of .252/.336/.461, he’s better than Hosmer (.262/.319/.411). Davis also hit 32 homers last season; Hosmer has 33 in 280 career games.
The Royals, however, train in Surprise, Ariz. Davis is holed up with the Mets in Port St. Lucie, a five-hour flight away.
“There were a couple of issues,” Torre said. “We were looking for a lefthander, and Ike is certainly someone we talked about. We talked about Ryan Howard. But where we were, if we could stay in Arizona -- only because of how close we were to the end and he wouldn’t be able to get here for [Wednesday’s] game and stuff. It just worked out perfect.”
In summing up Hosmer’s choice, Torre added, “He’s here.”