Bruce Chen has never been to China, but will pitch for the country’s World Baseball Classic team.
Former MLB pitcher Bruce Chen is ending his two-year retirement to pitch for China’s World Baseball Classic team next month. The kicker, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, is that Chen has never even been to China.
Chen, 39, was born in Panama to parents of Chinese descent. He is eligible to compete for China in the WBC because his grandparents were born in China.
“It’s a big opportunity for me to represent my heritage, represent the Cleveland Indians,” Chen told Nightengale, “and represent Major League Baseball. I know there’s a lot of interest in China in baseball. I’m going to try to do my best, and hopefully pull off an upset.”
Chen made two starts for the Indians in 2015 and was designated for assignment after giving up nine runs and 17 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He opted to retire rather than return to the minors.
Chen was hired by the Indians prior to last season to help minor leaguers with the transition to pro ball.