Jurickson Profar still undecided on WBC

SURPRISE, Ariz. – Texas Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar still isn’t sure whether he’s going to play in the World Baseball Classic.

And it was clear as he spoke to the media Friday, shortly after he arrived in the clubhouse, that it’s a very difficult decision for him. Profar, who turns 20 on Wednesday, admitted that he’s getting pressure from fans and others from his native Curacao who want to see him wearing a uniform for The Netherlands.

“They want me to play,” Profar said.

Profar said that he thinks the final rosters are due the middle of next week, giving him a few more days to decide. He had told the club a few weeks ago that he wasn’t playing, but then informed them last week that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do and would tell them shortly after he arrived for spring training.

"I probably put him in a bad spot," general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday. "He had indicated that he was leaning toward coming to camp and competing for a job. I probably shouldn't have told everybody that. He's got a lot of pressure back at home.”

Daniels said Profar was “legitimately torn” about the decision and the club understood that and wanted to give him the time he needed to choose what he wanted to do.

The Dutch team’s pool play games are in Taiwan in early March, so Profar would likely miss at least a week of spring training. If they advance, he could miss more time, though competing against some of the best young players in the world won’t hurt him.

Manager Ron Washington isn’t putting any pressure on Profar.

“It’s his decision to make,” Washington said. “It’s a big decision. I’m fine with what he wants.”

There are pros and cons. For starters, if Profar stays in Surprise he can get more at-bats and try to push his way onto the roster by impressing the decision -makers -- the coaching staff and front office. There’s little doubt that if he wants to try to convince the club that he should be in the big leagues, even in a bench role, it’s easier to do that in Surprise.

On the other hand, he could play for his country and compete at a high level in the WBC and learn a bunch there, too. And the pressure from his fans and supporters in Curacao is high.

“I know what he can do and what kind of player he is,” Washington said. “Jurickson has to be confident with what happens. We’re asking him to make that decision.”

Profar said the Rangers have communicated their support to him and are giving him time to make up his own mind.

"They said the decision I make, they're behind me," Profar said.

Profar isn't concerned about how he'll be used, though he didn't think he'd be playing any in the outfield.

"I just have to play and show what I can and they have to decide," Profar said. "I just want to be here."

The question is whether "here" also means in Surprise for all of spring. Profar knows he has to make that call soon.