SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Jeremy Guthrie toured Spain with catcher Salvador Perez and climbed China's Great Wall before reporting to the Kansas City Royals camp.
Guthrie, who led the Royals with 15 victories last season, said he has been to 18 countries, but this was his initial trip to China. He was with several other players representing Major League Baseball in giving clinics and promoting the game.
"I saw a few players that are very talented and would have a chance to come over here and play professionally and I think sooner than later," Guthrie said Monday. "That's the whole goal of the Major League Baseball center to have the game grow. It certainly takes a native player of that country to really spark interest in the sport.
"China is even more like that any country, like Li Na, the tennis player. The country is crazy for tennis now because of her. A baseball player in the Major Leagues, a native to China, will send shock waves through that country and excite them even more for baseball. It's in it's infancy over there for sure, the game of baseball."
Guthrie walked on the Great Wall.
"That really for me was No. 1 on my list," Guthrie said. "It was something I always wanted to do was go to China and go on the Great Wall, so I was very excited."
Guthrie has gone the past four years to Spain, where he spent a two-year missionary trip when he was 19-to-21 for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I invited Salvy to come over with me, which was great to see the country and teach baseball. I have a great affection for the Spanish culture and the people there.
"I think Salvy really loved it. He had never been to Europe before and so it a real awesome experience. We were together at a hotel in Barcelona when they announced he won the Gold Glove."