Cubs’ Marcus Stroman on playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC: ‘It just felt right’

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ST. LOUIS — Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman paused before answering a question about why he had chosen to represent Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic next year.

Teammate Drew Smyly, sitting at the next locker in the visiting clubhouse at Busch Stadium, jumped in: ‘‘He wanted to have two MVPs.’’

Stroman laughed. In 2017, the last time the tournament was held, he won the MVP and a championship with Team USA. But Stroman — whose mom, Adlin Auffant, is Puerto Rican — is eligible to play for two countries. Earlier this week, Stroman announced on Twitter that he was joining Team Puerto Rico for the 2023 WBC.

‘‘I’m big into intuition,’’ said Stroman, who acknowledged there were other factors that he rather would leave unsaid. ‘‘So it just felt right. Felt like I needed to play for Puerto Rico. . . . I’m excited. I’m excited to play for Puerto Rico and represent my mother’s side.’’

Stroman said Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor and Team Puerto Rico general manager Eduardo Perez had been asking him to play. But when Perez asked him at the beginning of the season, Stroman told him he would have to talk with his mother first.

Stroman played for the United States’ collegiate national team, and the only international opponent on its schedule was Japan. So he hadn’t explored Team Puerto Rico as an option.

Then in 2017, Stroman hadn’t been sure whether he was going to play in the WBC. But when Team USA called, he said yes.

‘‘That was only the thought process,’’ Stroman said. ‘‘There was no deep thought process that went into it.’’

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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