As he vies for an MLB roster spot with the Texas Rangers, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo will also be thinking of his former Samurai Japan teammates battling to regain World Baseball Classic supremacy, the 31-year-old infielder said Monday.
Tsutsugo is set to attend the Rangers' spring training later this month in Arizona, having received an invitation after inking a minor league contract with the club.
If he succeeds in his bid for a major league deal, Texas will become his fourth team since his MLB debut in 2020 with the Tampa Bay Rays, which was followed by stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
"I understand the position I'm in," Tsutsugo said during an online interview. "I'm feeling good about it."
A member of the Samurai Japan squad at the 2017 WBC won by the United States, Tsutsugo said he looked forward to cheering on Hideki Kuriyama's men at the March 8-21 tournament.
"The best players are all there," the former DeNA BayStars standout said. "I want to give them all of my support."
While his major league journey has been far from smooth, including multiple trips to the minors, Tsutsugo said he had no reservations about remaining stateside after turning down several offers from Japanese clubs.
"I had no hesitation in deciding that I want to play in America," he said.