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Gonzalez is revved up to pitch for U.S.

Published March 11, 2013 11:54 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Miami • Gio Gonzalez munched on chicken wings and shrimp scampi at a sports bar in his hometown as he watched Team USA rally to stay alive in the World Baseball Classic.

The next game he'll take in from the mound. The Washington Nationals' left-hander will start for the United States in its opener of round two Tuesday night against Puerto Rico.

The U.S. team rallied with seven runs in the last two innings Sunday to advance by beating Canada 9-4 in Phoenix. Gonzalez wasn't with the team in Arizona. He left the Nationals' camp in central Florida before the U.S. game Sunday to make the three-hour drive south to Miami.

"I was so confident they were going to win," he said. "I was ready to go."

Gonzalez grew up in Hialeah, a short drive from Marlins Park, the site of the second round.

"To be a small town kid from Hialeah, Fla., pitching in Miami and representing Team USA, that says it all," he said. "It's a kid's dream."

The Dominican Republic will face Italy in an afternoon game Tuesday, followed by Team USA against Puerto Rico.

In Tokyo on Monday, Kalian Sams' ninth-inning sacrifice fly scored Andruw Jones with the winning run, capping a comeback from a two-run, eighth-inning deficit and lifting the Netherlands past Cuba 7-6 and into the WBC semifinals. The Netherlands, the first European team to reach the final four, advanced along with two-time defending champion Japan. At the semifinals in San Francisco on March 17-18, they will be joined by two teams from among the United States, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Italy.

Greinke scratched

Zack Greinke was scratched from his spring training start for the Dodgers against Milwaukee in Phoenix and went to Los Angeles to have his sore right elbow examined. Greinke, signed to a $147 million, six-year contract in December, felt discomfort while throwing Sunday. —

Puerto Ricovs. U.S.

P Tuesday, 6 p.m.

TV • MLB Network