January 2009

Choosing Between Country and Team

It was a thrill to hear I was chosen to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic in March. Teams
from 16 countries will play first-round games in Tokyo,
Toronto, San Juan
and Mexico City.  The second round will be in Miami
and San Diego,
with the semifinals and finals at Dodger Stadium.

The list of invited players is a who’s who of the Major Leagues.

So, it’s a true honor to be selected — especially because,
as you probably know, we have a lot of catchers in Puerto
Rico who are really, really good. I’m flattered to be included in
their company.

But I’m not sure I’ll accept the invitation if, in fact, I’m
on the final 28-man roster.

The most important thing for me is to be ready for the 2009
season with the Giants. We have a really exciting season coming up, so I feel
it’s important for me to be with the Giants for Spring Training and start
working with the pitchers.

So, if I’m not the No. 1 or No. 2 catcher for the Puerto
Rican team — if I’m going to catch only one game or get an at-bat here or
there — it’s best that I skip it. I mean, it’s awesome to be chosen, but if
I’m not going to play much, I won’t get the time on the field and in the
batter’s box to prepare myself as best as I possibly can for the season.

And on a business level, I’ll be a free agent after this
year, so I have to think about that, too. I have to make sure I’m at the top of
my game.

No matter what happens, I’ll have fun either playing on the
Puerto Rican team myself or watching my brother, Yadier, do the family proud.
In the meantime, I’m working out twice a day here in Yuma and spending as much time as possible
with my girls.

See you at FanFest! I’ll be there on Saturday, Feb. 7.