When the call came with the opportunity he had hoped last season would earn, Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs didn’t recognize the number and let it go to voice mail.

Thankfully, Joe Torre left a message.

Boggs still has it saved on his phone.

The former Cardinals and New York Yankees manager reached out to the righty and invited him to join Team USA for this month’s World Baseball Classic. Boggs quickly dialed back and accepted, thrilled that the season he promised he’d have not only included a league-high 34 holds and a 2.21 ERA but now delivered a chance to pitch for his country.

“I feel like being a part of the team is kind of recognition of how well I pitched last year. If I don’t do what I did, I’m not even in the conversation,” Boggs said Thursday. “I almost feel like I started my career last year. The few years before that I was just kind of there. I felt like coming into last year I had a decision – I could continue to be that guy where I floated around and pitched in a lot of different roles, or I could take the next step and be the guy I thought I could be.”

Boggs will fly to Arizona and Team USA’s camp on Sunday, joining the team for the international tournament that stretches from Saturday through March 19th. The Cardinals’ setup reliever made his penultimate appearance with his club Thursday. He pitched around a couple of walks in a scoreless eighth inning of an 8-2 victory over Miami at Roger Dean Stadium.

The inning and the result, if not the walks, was familiar for Boggs, who seized last season as his own. He served as the eighth-inning bridge to closer Jason Motte, part of a tandem that produced Boggs’ Cardinals-record 34 holds and Motte’s NL-high 42 saves.