JUPITER, Fla. --Reliever Mitchell Boggs pitched in just three games, one of which was an exhibition, for the United States team in the World Baseball Classic.
But Boggs, who returned to the St. Louis Cardinals' spring-training complex Saturday morning, wouldn't trade the experience.
"It was something I was honored to be a part of and something that will be special to me for a long time," Boggs said. "Getting to experience playing for your country is something that was really neat and I'm just thankful for the opportunity."
Boggs worked 1 1/3 scoreless innings in his two official appearances, allowing one hit and one walk. The United States was eliminated from the tournament with a 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico on Friday night in Miami.
Lefty reliever J.C. Romero, unconditionally released by the Cardinals last May 14, retired the final four hitters as Puerto Rico advanced to the semifinals that begin Sunday at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
"Last night when we lost, I was disappointed it was over because I wanted to be a part of a team to win it," Boggs said. "But I was excited to get back here. That's why I got up at 6:30 and drove back. I was itching and ready to get back into this camp."
Boggs was under no orders to immediately return to camp.
"If I wouldn't have shown up (Saturday), nobody would have cared," Boggs said. "But I wanted to be here. There was no need for me to miss a day. ... I missed being here; I missed being around these guys."
Boggs would have liked to pitch more regularly in the WBC, although he was aware opportunities might be limited.
"It's a situation where we only played six games, with a lot of off days, a lot of starting pitchers and a lot of bullpen guys," he said. "You're probably not going to get to pitch as much as you would if you were in camp, but we all knew that; we all signed up for that.
"When you're on a team like that, you're not necessarily going to get used the way you would in camp. It's part of being a part of something that was really neat. I've got enough time left in camp to where I'll be ready to go in two weeks. It won't be a big deal at all."
Boggs' pitching coach during the WBC was future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, a 355-game winner. It was Boggs' first opportunity to be around Maddux and he complimented Maddux's style.
"He's a big believer in doing what you're capable of doing, being the guy that you're capable of being," Boggs said. "Obviously, he's one of the best pitchers to ever step on the mound.
"The thing I took away from him is how humble he was. He never talked about himself, which is rare from guys like that. He was there to help anybody with anything they needed. For me, it was, 'Go out there and go right at guys. Your stuff's good enough to compete with anybody.' To hear that from a guy like that is pretty cool."
The next WBC will be in 2017, and Boggs said he would "absolutely" consider another opportunity to pitch for the United State "if it was the right situation for me."
"I was able to experience it and have a great time -- some experiences that I'll remember forever," Boggs said. "If it was the right situation four years from now, I'd do it again.
"But I do need to get back into camp and get back on the mound more. I'm excited to be back and I'm ready to get going."
Boggs is expected to pitch one inning in the Cardinals' game Sunday against the Miami Marlins.
"My arm feels great. That's the big thing," Boggs said. "I kept throwing and I threw a couple of bullpens. ... So my arm feels great and my stuff feels very good. For me, it's all about getting back in the routine of pitching in games whenever they need me to.
"As far as what I need to do to be ready for the season, I'm doing it. I feel really good and I'll take advantage of the next two weeks and be ready to go."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.