Team USA will be down a player in the World Baseball Classic after Baltimore Orioles starting catcher Matt Wieters decided it was best to stay in camp with his team.
Wieters struggled with something that many players do when the WBC rolls around and that is whether to support their country or stay committed to their Major League Baseball team in Spring Training. Wieters preferred to stay in camp and help the pitching staff get prepared for the 2013 season, but he also wanted to know he was there for Team USA if they needed him.
“I’d love to be able to play for my country,” Wieters said, “but, at the same time, you have responsibilities to your team and responsibilities, for me, to the pitching staff — to be able to get to know them and go through spring training with them.”
At this point, the two-time All-Star knows what is best for him and what is good for the sake of the team. There is a reason he suited up the most innings out of any catcher in the American League last season, and that could very well be the reason why he wanted to take it slower in camp this year. In his opinion, there is no reason to make his body go full speed at this time of year when it is really the time to build up.
“It’s different on a pitcher or a catcher than it is for a position player because once the position player’s body is ready to go, they are good to go as opposed to pitchers and catchers,” Wieters said. “You can’t just crank it up to full speed right out of the get-go.”
It was never official that Wieters was going to catch for Team USA in the first place as it was more of everyone assuming he was going to because of his solid performance in 2012. The fact is he basically told the U.S. team he was leaning more towards spending time with the Orioles in Spring Training and that is when the talks died down.
This is something that I am sure many fans in Baltimore are happy to hear because they want their Orioles in top shape in order to clinch a second consecutive postseason berth.