Brandon Phillips grimaced as he chuckled about his travel plans.
He had hoped to accompany Team USA to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in San Francisco. Instead, because the Americans were eliminated Friday night by Puerto Rico, he'll rejoin the Cincinnati Reds at spring training in Goodyear, Ariz.
''I didn't want to go back to Goodyear,'' Phillips said. ''I wanted to go to San Francisco so bad. It stinks, man.''
Phillips can blame a U.S. batting slump - and 38-year-old right-hander Nelson Figueroa, who became the pride of Puerto Rico when he led his team into the semifinals and ousted the Americans, 4-3.
After Figueroa threw his last pitch to end the sixth inning, he leaped off the mound with a hoot like a kid at recess, then ran to catcher Yadier Molina to share a hug.
''We were supreme underdogs against that lineup,'' Figueroa said. ''It was motivation to show them what kind of pitcher I was.''
On Thursday, demonstrative Dominicans dominated the All-Star-laden ...