Iannetta develops during Classic
Rox catcher stays sharp, in shape with wealth of playing time
MESA, Ariz. -- For Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta, the intensity of the World Baseball Classic helped him slow down in the batter's box.
Iannetta hit .462 (6-for-13) with a home run, six RBIs and four walks for Team USA. He returned to the Rockies for Tuesday's 9-8 loss to the Cubs and went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs.
Even on a star-studded team and playing a spaced-out schedule, Iannetta had close to as much playing time as he would have in Rockies camp. Through Tuesday, he has 26 combined plate appearances. Yorvit Torrealba, the backup catcher, has 32.
"When I left, I was a little jumpy at the plate," Iannetta said. "Then when I started facing those guys who throw a little more offspeed, I slowed myself down and feel a little better now. It was a good thing.
"Facing some of the Latin teams helped, because they were predominantly more offspeed. Where I was when I left and where I am now, it helped. I think I eventually would have gotten there, but I think it accelerated the process of getting me to slow down."
Last year -- when he hit .264 with 18 home runs and 65 RBIs, a record for a Rockies catcher -- was the first full Major League season for Iannetta, who turns 26 on April 8. He said being around Team USA's veterans was a learning experience that he hopes is applicable to his work with the Rockies.
"It was just a good experience, offensively and defensively, talking to a different group of guys, getting their view on things, learning what they do, asking questions of some of the veterans there," Iannetta said. "I think a lot of positives came out of it. As for what, I think time will tell. I'm real happy I did it.
"I definitely was excited to be on the same field as a lot of those guys. Talking to them on and off the field was a really exciting experience. I'm not going to say it wore off toward the end, but it became more normal. It was cool."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.