Los Angeles Angels first basemen Albert Pujols plans for now to play in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic in March. The decision to play in the WBC depends on his knee which was surgically repaired in October being fully healthy. Is it wise though, to go from waiting for it to heal, straight to competition? One has to wonder if Spring Training wouldn’t be a better way to bring the knee along slowly in real time action.
I for one think the value of full spring training is way more important to the success of a team, than having players in the World Baseball Classic. I do realize that players have to make up their own minds about things like that and each usually has their own opinion of the WBC’s importance as it relates to the regular baseball season. When coming off of an injury, however, I would have to think it changes things.
Mike Trout, who had such a legendary rookie season in 2012, is choosing to skip the Classic in favor of a regular Spring Training. What some might not remember about him last season is that he actually had an illness in the spring that led him to begin the season at Triple-A instead of going through the natural spring camp with his team.
It would seem that such a move from someone of Trout’s caliber would carry weight as far as the importance of the spring verses the Classic. I think it does. How much better would his season have been if he went through the spring correctly? It’s something to think about. For Pujols, I think he is making a mistake going through the Classic instead of camp. That might not be the case if it weren’t him coming off of an injury. As is, I wish his doctor would advise him against it.