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Several players have opted out of the 2013 WBC, much like many did in 2009 and 2006.
One possible explanation: the risk of injury.
Tournament pool play begins March 2nd, a time when most major league players are just a couple weeks into spring training and still getting the motors going. Players can take their time and slowly crescendo into the regular season over the course of six weeks.
But for those participating in the WBC, their training regimen gets bumped up as they will be playing in competitive games a month ahead of their normal routine.
The rush is often enough for many star players to sit out the WBC so as not to jeopardize their health. Guys such as Clayton Kershaw, Albert Pujols and Bryce Harper are all noticeably absent from their respective countries' rosters.
Short of playing the tournament during the middle of the major league season (the Players' Association will never let that happen) or playing it after the World Series (also unlikely), spring is the next best time to hold such an event.
With that in mind, is there merit in the players' decisions to opt out?
ESPN's Jayson Stark says no.
In fact, his article points to evidence to the contrary. After the 2009 WBC, 73 players opened the regular season on the disabled list. Two had participated in the tournament.
And in only two of the past eight seasons have there been less than nine percent of active players on the disabled list. Care to guess which two years those were?
You guessed it. The two years (2006 and 2009) when the WBC was held.
Furthermore, ESPN's Ben Lindbergh theorizes that it is not injury that is risked in this event. Strict pitch counts are in place to restrict pitchers from exerting too much, too soon in the spring.
Rather, because the players (creatures of habit by nature) are forced out of their routines for a couple weeks, their performance is what can suffer.
And, even that is not conclusive, according to Lindbergh.
No matter whether the risk of injury is, indeed, heightened by playing in the event, the thought of it possibly curtailing a player's season (and possibly costing him millions in his next contract if he is close to free agency) has deterred some of the game's best from taking part in the event, diluting the overall product.