Don't Blame WBC for Wright's Injured Toe

Mets fans have plenty of legitimate reasons to wonder if the World Baseball Classic is going to come back to bite their team in the rear end. Oliver Perez's admission of fatigue while being stretched to throw 85 pitches in a Mexican loss is a reason to dislike the tournament. Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo using the master of the three out save Francisco Rodriguez for four outs on multiple occassions is a really valid reason to have doubts about the benefits of international play.

But David Wright's toe injury? That has nothing to do with playing competitive baseball before you're ready. The Daily News can scream all they like that Wright was injured in a "meaningless World Baseball Classic game," but a foul ball off the toe is one of several potential outcomes when a ball thrown by a pitcher is hit by a swung bat. The meaningfulness of the game has absolutely nothing to do with it. 

The majority of the injuries of the WBC, in fact, could have happened in the regular flow of Spring Training. Here and there are exceptions, but the biggest problem with the event is the way it puts players under the control of managers with little to no respect for their regular team's wishes. Davey Johnson of the USA has been one of the best in this regard, actually. He has put his team at risk of losing games because Derek Jeter needs reps at shortstop and because Jake Peavy needed so many pitches even though Puerto Rico was using him for batting practice.

The Perez and Rodriguez situations are the damning ones for the WBC, not a foul ball off a toe or a strained muscle. No one remembers the multitude of players who missed a week of Spring Training before playing an entire season, but no Met fan will ever forget if K-Rod misses six weeks in May and June because Sojo didn't care about the Mets chances in 2009. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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