Rollins picked to play shortstop for Team USA
Phils put three players on Canada, one each on Brazil, Venezuela, Australia
On the day he returned to the Phillies' Spring Training camp after playing for the United States in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, shortstop Jimmy Rollins gave the experience high marks.
"Lotta fun," Rollins said at the time. "It was tough living out of a suitcase for three weeks, but I enjoyed it. There wasn't one moment I would take back."
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So it's not surprising that Rollins will return for the 2013 edition of the Classic. In fact, when the Team USA provisional roster was announced Thursday, he was the only pure shortstop on it. That could still change; final rosters must be filed by Feb. 20.
Four years ago, when he split playing time with Yankees great Derek Jeter, Rollins batted .417 and was the only player from the United States to be named to the All-Tournament Team.
This year, Rollins is the lone Phils player named to manager Joe Torre's squad.
The organization will be well-represented on other teams, however, including having three players named to the Canadian team: right-hander Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and infielder/outfielder Pete Orr.
"Honored to be selected for @baseballcanada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Absolutely can't wait!" Gillies tweeted.
In addition, second baseman Lucas Rojo was named to the Brazil roster, left-hander Cesar Jimenez will play for Venezuela and catcher/infielder Tim Kennelly was picked for Australia.
Rollins, 34, is coming off a season in which he led all National League shortstops in fielding percentage (.978) and runs (102). He ranked second in home runs (23) and walks (62) and tied for second in doubles (33). Rollins reached significant milestones with his 2,000th hit and his 400th stolen base and also set the Phillies' record for games played at shortstop, surpassing Larry Bowa.
A career .270 hitter, Rollins is only the fourth Major Leaguer in history to accumulate at least 2,000 hits, 350 stolen bases and 150 homers for the same team, joining Craig Biggio and Hall of Famers Barry Larkin and Paul Molitor.
Aumont, 24, made his Major League debut last Aug. 23. In his first nine games, he had a 1.08 ERA. Aumont ended up allowing just 10 hits while striking out 14 in 14 2/3 innings in 18 appearances after earning 15 saves at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He'll have an opportunity to pitch his way into a significant bullpen role this season.
Aumont and Gillies, 24, were acquired from the Mariners in the December 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle. Gillies has been hampered by hamstring and foot injuries but showed what he's capable of by hitting .304 with an .822 OPS at Double-A Reading last season.
Orr, 33, has made the Phils' Opening Day roster out of Spring Training each of the last two seasons. Last year, he batted .333 (5-for-15) as a pinch-hitter. After being sent to Lehigh Valley, Orr returned in September and went 5-for-12 (.417) down the stretch.
The 20-year-old Rojo batted .354 in 18 games for the Phillies' Venezuelan Summer League team in 2012. Jimenez, 28, was signed as a free agent this winter after pitching parts of three seasons for the Mariners. In 43 total games, he was 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA. Kennelly hit a combined .242 in 75 games with Reading and Lehigh Valley.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.