JERUSALEM (JTA) — Ian Kinsler, a four-time Major League Baseball All-Star, has joined Israel’s national team and will play in the Summer Olympics next year in Tokyo.
Kinsler, 37, who retired from professional baseball after 14 seasons with five teams, played in three World Series, including for the 2018 champion Boston Red Sox.
He received approval for his Israeli citizenship late on March 6 and arrived in Israel a few days later, barely four hours before the deadline that would have required Kinsler and his wife to be quarantined for two weeks, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“Wearing Israel’s blue and white means more to me than just playing baseball,” he said in a statement. “It means representing a country, a religion and my roots. I can’t wait to get started.”
Israel is one of six national teams that will play in the Tokyo games. On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Olympics scheduled for this summer will be postponed a year.