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Stark: Busting The WBC Injury Myth

Jayson Stark wrote this morning about how it’s purely a myth that players who tend to play in the World Baseball Classic are moe likely to be injured, citing the following information:

• Players who didn’t play in the WBC in 2009 were nearly twice as likely to spend time on the disabled list in April that year as players who did take part in the WBC — 17.8 percent of non-WBC participants versus 9.5 percent (just 11 of 115) of those who did participate.

• There were 73 players on the disabled list when the 2009 season opened. Only two of them were players who were involved in the WBC. Just one (Rick VandenHurk, of Team Netherlands) was a pitcher. The other (Ichiro Suzuki) wasn’t actually “injured.” He was out with an ulcer.

I don’t think that it’s necessarily that people think their players are more likely to be injured by playing in the WBC. It’s more that it happens to occur right before six months of non-stop baseball, and as that is more important than the WBC to players (at least I think it is), they just feel more comfortable preparing and playing on their own Spring Training grounds with their own coaches and with their own staff. A player is no doubt just as likely to get injured playing in Spring Training as compared to playing in the WBC. You’re playing baseball either way and you are performing the same actions. It’s simply a matter of the setting. Players, understandably, might not want to be apart of a high-pressure, high-level situation right before they go on a six-month marathon that, in the end, tends to be more important.

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