Dyson Staying Course with Rangers
ARLINGTON—By most accounts, this has been a normal offseason for Texas Rangers closer Sam Dyson.
Appearing at a local Academy last week with the Rangers Winter Caravan, Dyson, traded from the Miami Marlins prior to the 2015 MLB Non-Waiver Trade Deadline, responded to a question about his offseason with his usual deadpan delivery and dry wit.
“Just normal stuff, take a few months off and get going. Working out, training, throwing. Every now and then, I’ll stop and eat some breakfast, lunch and dinner and the occasional chocolate cake or a beer,” Dyson quipped. “Just try to get the body and mind prepared for the season, that’s it.”
But in one way, this winter hasn’t been typical for Dyson, 28, who just completed his first season as the Texas closer.
That’s because earlier this month, a stanza where he and the Rangers agreed to a one-year contract to avoid arbitration, Dyson received a text from Joe Torre, general manager of Team USA inviting him to pitch for the Stars and Stripes at March’s 2017 World Baseball Classic.
“It’s a tremendous honor. I feel blessed to be a part of Team USA and I can’t wait to represent the country,” Dyson said.
This will be Dyson’s first opportunity to pitch for his country, something he didn’t experience even during his time at South Carolina.
And even though this will be a new experience, it’s one he’s looking forward to.
“Maybe I was the last person on the list and they had called around, and said, ‘Hey, we need another guy.’ I don’t know,” Dyson said. “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity.”
Besides the honor of representing his country, there’s another aspect of participating in the 2017 WBC, the fourth installment of the 16-team tournament, that is especially intriguing.
“Can’t wait to meet all the guys I haven’t played with before and be with some tremendous baseball players,” Dyson said.
Besides his normal preparations for the approaching season, Dyson is also providing moral support to close friend Jake Diekman, who he bonded with when they both came over at the 2015 deadline.
Diekman will likely miss at least half the 2017 season after having surgery for colitis, a stomach condition he has had for some time.
Dyson will miss seeing his compatriot out in the bullpen with him to start 2017, but hopes to see him return sooner than expected.
“We kind of bonded since day one. We’ve been throwing partners and locker mates. It’s a sad situation for him. He works his tail off and he wants to compete with his teammates,” Dyson said.
“He definitely doesn’t want to miss any time, but for health reasons and for him long term, this is probably the best option for him. I wish him the best of health after he has his surgery. I’ll go see him here in the next couple days. I don’t even know the timeframe, but hopefully he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”