Collins excited to play for Team USA

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tim Collins is one of eight players in the Royals' organization on the provisional rosters of World Baseball Classic teams but he's the only one on Team USA.

"I'm excited. You don't get many opportunities to play with a group of guys like that, besides the All-Star Game," Collins said. "To me, this is similar to an All-Star Game, so I feel to play with those guys at the same time on the same field is really an honor."

This isn't his first turn on a Team USA. He was one of six Royals Minor Leaguers to play in the 2010 Pan American Qualifying Tournament and had a 2.57 ERA in five relief appearances.

"That was fun and that's one of my favorite memories to share with guys that I came up to the big leagues with," he said. "This is on a higher stage and top-of-the-line baseball, so you can't get any better than that."

Collins won't have to travel far to practice on March 4 as Team USA will train at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz. The first game is against Mexico, which has Royals pitcher Luis Mendoza on its roster, on March 8 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

Collins, who grew up in New England as a Red Sox fan, nevertheless was looking forward to playing for an old Boston nemesis, USA manager Joe Torre.

"He's one of the great managers, so he knows how to win and I'm sure that's what he's expecting us to do, is win, Collins said. "So it'll be pretty exciting to play for him -- although he was with the Yankees and beat our Red Sox quite a few times. But he's a winner."