Within an hour of the announcement, the Web site for the Boston Globe posted a poll asking whether Matsuzaka and his teammates should be barred from ever participating in the international tournament again. Two other Red Sox players were hurt during the event. By 6 p.m., a total of 8,860 votes had been cast,
- 83.6 percent in favor of dumping the Classic....
At the Coliseum on Wednesday, a couple of less radical voices called for reform over revolution. First of all, said WBC pitching coach Marcel Lachemann, Matsuzaka's fatigue seems specific to him; most pitchers shouldn't feel the effects of the extra work until late in the season.
Second, both he and A's right-hander Brad Ziegler, a member of the U.S. team, argued that
- sporadic play, rather than excessive work, seemed to be the real problem.
- Hitters, in particular, appeared to get out of sync when they left behind the constant activity of spring training. The U.S. played just eight games in 22 days together.
"The big problem was that it was stretched out way too much," Lachemann said. "At one point, we played one game in five days. They really need to compress it."
- The effect seemed especially clear when Brian Roberts arrived at the Classic as a replacement for Boston's Dustin Pedroia (teammate Kevin Youkilis also got hurt during the tournament). "He'd been with Baltimore the whole time getting consistent at-bats. He stepped in, and he looked like Babe Ruth," Lachemann said.
Ziegler said he was considering making some suggestions to the players' association. (He is the A's team representative to the union.)
Some workouts, he said, had to be rushed so that several teams could be
- crammed into a stadium on the same day.
In Miami, where the stadium had football and baseball locker rooms, it was easier to accommodate all of the participating teams.
- But in L.A., practice was whirlwind: an hour and 15 minutes on the field, then 45 minutes to get everybody and all the equipment out of the clubhouse.
"It was run in, shower, then run out," Ziegler said. "Everybody was still breathing hard when we got on the bus."
A lot of little, but critical, details get lost.
- Ziegler said he was able to take infield practice on the first day of his three weeks with the U.S. team, and never again.
He's not complaining. He thought the event was wonderful. He just wants the organizers to consider other options.
- For instance, he said, two of the final four teams might have trained in Anaheim, just 45 minutes to an hour from Dodger Stadium,
- and gotten more time.
When the A's travel to Detroit, Ziegler plans to sit down with Curtis Granderson, the Tigers' team rep, and compare notes. He wants feedback from another national team, and Detroit had four players on the Venezuelan squad.
- Compressing the schedule already has several advocates.
Lachemann would also like to see a return to simple, pre-scheduled pool play, rather than a double-elimination format. He understands that organizers wanted to eliminate freakish tiebreakers, but the uncertainty complicated his efforts to give each pitcher properly timed work and rest.
Each U.S. pitcher's MLB coach heard from Lachemann every day, he said.
- The Red Sox didn't have that luxury with Matsuzaka, who trained with the winning Japanese team and quite
- possibly indulged a tendency to push himself too hard and too fast.
- The Red Sox suspect as much.
"I don't know that we know for sure," Francona said Wednesday. "We're 6,000 miles away. We try to get a feel for what he is doing without overstepping our bounds."" by Gwen Knapp, "Matsuzaka put on DL, putting spotlight on WBC" 4/15/09
Comment: 4/16/2009 9:34:59 AM