Not all injuries sustained this spring training are a result of the World Baseball Classic. The majority of big leaguers didn't participate in that event, after all. But the placement of the tournament still has an indirect negative affect, and that is a tension Major League Baseball has yet to resolve.
The WBC provided entertaining baseball this month at an unsurprising cost. One player affected? New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. He has a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist suffered while taking batting practice during Team USA's WBC camp.
Teixeira pulled out of the event as a precaution but will miss eight to 10 weeks -- and maybe more -- according to a report Sunday on ESPNNewYork.com.
But because players needed to be ready to play when WBC camps started the first week of March, spring training games were underway earlier than normal. Teixeira, however, refused to blame the WBC for his plight.
"It has nothing to do with the WBC," Teixeira told the website. "We started playing games on the 23rd of February. That's insane. We're usually just reporting on Feb.?23. I've been hitting off a tee since December. This was a freak injury. The nature of baseball now is you show up at spring training early and you start playing games. The WBC had nothing to do with it."
That's a fair point. But Bud Selig's desire to both add extra playoff games and still end the World Series before November causes a conundrum: The regular season must start by late March. That means earlier spring training dates. That means a shorter offseason. Are the players paying a price?
New York Mets star third baseman David Wright suffered an intercostal strain in his rib cage during the WBC. Now he is doubtful to be ready for Opening Day. He, too, wouldn't blame the tournament. But extra baseball adds up.
"Playing baseball, there's some risk that comes along with that, whether it's in Port St. Lucie or Arizona or Miami," Wright told ESPNNewYork.com. "I think everybody there was prepared. Unfortunately things like that happen. It has nothing to do with the tournament itself. It has everything to do with some bad luck."
- Brian McNally