SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Pitcher Luis Mendoza joined catcher Salvador Perez in rejoining the Royals on Tuesday after their respective teams were eliminated in the World Baseball Classic.
While Perez was playing in Puerto Rico, Mendoza didn't have far to go -- just down the road to Scottsdale for one game, and then to Chase Field in Phoenix for two games.
"I was there for the experience and the excitement of the tournament," Mendoza said.
It got very exciting at Chase Field, where Mexico fans raised the roof.
"It was almost like all of Mexico was there," Mendoza said. "Every game you saw a lot of people cheering for Mexico, and I had a lot of friends and family there. It was good."
In the game against Team USA, Mendoza faced teammate Eric Hosmer.
"I saw him in the clubhouse when we came to the stadium, we said 'Hi' and we talked about how exciting this was. But I told him, 'Changeups.'" Mendoza said.
Mendoza wasn't kidding. That's what he threw, and Hosmer rapped a ground ball right back to the mound, ending the inning.
He and his wife Monica each had their parents in town for the excitement, which also included an on-field brawl with the Canada team. Mendoza was careful.
"I just tried to stay out of trouble. I just tried to calm everybody down," he said.
Mendoza, who pitched two innings in one game, doesn't think his absence will hurt his chances to win a spot in the rotation or the bullpen.
"Not really. I missed like one week. We got eliminated early, and I can keep pitching and keep showing KC what I can do," he said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less