Jesse Crain announced Monday morning that he will not be pitching for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic due to a strained right adductor.
Crain began to feel the soreness in his hip a few days after making his 2013 Spring Training debut last Monday against the San Francisco Giants.
The 31-year-old hurler told the media this morning that getting healthy for his role in the Chicago White Sox bullpen is more important than throwing for Team Canada in the WBC. Crain will now rest for a couple of days before trying to throw again this weekend.
With the World Baseball Classic already underway, the debate about whether or not players truly care about representing their countries in the Classic has surfaced. In my eyes, although players enjoy the chance to play for their country in the WBC, their MLB team and the ultimate goal of being a World Series Champion greatly outweighs the opportunity to be crowned WBC Champions.
Crain is just another example of this. When completely healthy, he is a shoe-in to make the White Sox Opening Day roster. However, if the right-hander pushed himself to play for Team Canada in the Classic and wasn’t full go come April 1, the White Sox may look for other options in their pen. Making it very clear to the media this morning, Crain values his spot on the White Sox roster more than his chance to pitch in the WBC.
Another White Sox pitcher had the same mindset as Crain. Earlier this spring, Sox lefty Hector Santiago choose to skip the World Baseball Classic in order to solidify his position on the Sox roster.
Unfortunately for the World Baseball Classic, Crain and Santiago represent the majority of MLB players. There is no doubt that wearing their countries’ colors in the WBC would be a thrill for both White Sox relievers. But as of right now, for Crain, Santiago and most Major Leaguers, their baseball loyalties lie with their respective MLB clubs.
Matt Malecha is a Chicago White Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMalecha.