This is the worst thing that can possibly happen in a tournament like this because everyone is already holding their breathe that this thing can be pulled off. A lot of of critics and a lot of cynics will probably attack the WBC because of the injuries. I’m just pointing it out. I think it will have an affect on the future but if you look at the guys who got hurt, they’re the type of injuries that are alarming to me because they are the type of injuries that occur when you’re not game ready. For example, Dustin Pedroia with an oblique muscle. The oblique injury can happen from two things: fatigue and over use trying to get ready or getting caught off balance on a pitch when you’re timing is not right. In his case I feel like it probably was fatigue. He’s been swinging hard and it looked like he was on a lot of pitches.
Chipper Jones on the other hand, had struggled mightily, was concerned by the fact that he had 6 strikeouts in 10 at bats and when I spoke with him, he had hurt his oblique muscle by swinging at a change up he was off-balance and fooled on. And when you get out in front and you try and reach and extend to try and hit a ball, that’s when you become vulnerable and that’s when you hurt your oblique muscle.
With the pitchers, not throwing yet is the key. Most pitchers in spring training can get on a throwing pattern and most of these pitchers have not.
The one thing I would point out is the lack of games in between. There needed to be more practice or exhibition games played, even in between the competition. For example, if you sat out two days, played a game, sat out two more days and played again – there should never be that many days off. So now the pitching rotation was 5 pitchers on, 5 pitchers off and every 5 or 6 days these guys are pitching in a game. You just can’t have it like that this time of year. In the Venezuela game the other day, King Felix had not pitched in over 8 days and didn’t start until the third game of competition for Venezuela, which didn’t come until two weeks after the whole thing started. They have to schedule ‘B’ games or get these some kind of competition in between games. Unlike most major league spring training camps when they start, you have guys face pitchers to start off in spring training, you don’t have that luxury here. These guys are not gonna face a pitcher – I’m not. If I’m in this competition as a major league hitter I’m not going to WBC without facing major league pitchers. It’s not gonna happen.
I hope we can figure out a way to keep all the players healthy, I’d hate to see this tournament canceled.