Rienzo becomes Japanese media sensation

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It was not exactly a stellar performance for Andre Rienzo on Monday at Scottsdale Stadium, as the right-hander didn't retire any of the five Giants hitters faced in the third and yielded five runs. Nonetheless, Rienzo was greeted by 10 Japanese media members in the visitors' clubhouse after his exit.

Their interest comes from Rienzo starting Game 1 of the World Baseball Classic's Pool A against Japan in Fukuoka on March 2. At least, Rienzo hopes he's still the starter.

"I don't know if [Brazil manager] Barry Larkin saw the game today and changes it," said a smiling Rienzo, drawing a laugh from the media. "I hope not.

"I'm glad to be part of the team, and I hope to be better than today. I hope I help Brazil. Today I didn't help the White Sox. I hope to help the team and hope to do well there."

Rienzo, a 24-year-old, fast-rising prospect -- ranked No. 9 in the organization by MLB.com -- leaves Tuesday to train with Team Brazil for the World Baseball Classic. He believes that he'll learn even more from a rough outing such as Monday and improve from the mistakes.

He also received an indoctrination to the Japanese media who will be covering him this weekend.

"I don't know what's happening, but it's good," said Rienzo of the Japanese media attention. "Today I really tried to throw strikes, but it didn't work for me. Next time, better. It's good for me to learn that because I played with the big guys, big names. You learn something new every day."