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Joe Maddon concerned about the work, and lack of work, for two of his players in the WBC

Mar 18, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

World Baseball Classic - Second Round - Miami - Puerto Rico v Dominican Republic Getty Images

Marc Topkin reports that Joe Maddon is concerned about two Rays players currently in the WBC. One because he’s working too much, the other because he’s not working enough.

Closer Fernando Rodney has pitched in all six games, closing five, over 10 days for the Dominican Republic. On the other hand, catcher Jose Molina has had only three plate appearances for Puerto Rico backing up his little brother Yadier.

Not sure that Molina’s lack of playing time should be such a concern. Wear and tear on a catcher over the course of a season can be considerable, even when that catcher is one of the seemingly indestructible Molina brothers. And while I suppose rust at the plate is a concern, it’s not like Molina hasn’t spent most of his career as a backup catcher anyway, for whom at bats have always been few and far between. And let’s be honest: what’s the inactivity gonna do? Sap his status as an offensive juggernaut? The guy is a career .238/.286/.355 hitter. Can it really get much worse?

As for Rodney: those six games are on top of three spring training games he tossed for the Rays before the WBC began. Scanning around the league, closers who are not in the WBC have typically pitched in four games so far, though some have pitched in as many as seven.  They’re different kind of innings — stressful vs. stress free, basically — but it’s not like Rodney is on another planet. And it’s not as if Rodney has had any games in which he’s labored or thrown a ton of pitches.

  1. professormaddog31 - Mar 18, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    I’ll be damned if this whole WBC/MLB situation doesn’t remind me of that old Rick Nelson song. It’s all right now, I’ve learned my lesson well. See, you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself. Not a single manager or team is happy with the WBC. No matter what you do, it’s wrong.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Not sure I understand the addition here. Rodney has pitched in 9 games whereas closers who are not in the WBC have “typically” pitched in 4. “Some” have pitched in 7. So how is Rodney not being overused if he has pitched in double the games in which the typical closer has pitched?

    Sounds like the same idiocy that people try to run out there, including Wright himself, when they say that Wright’s injury could have happened anytime. Sure it could have, but let me ask you this…what if he played in pain because it was the WBC and it was an important game? What if he said “I feel a little pain, but I’m going to try to play through it because the US offense blows without me”. And then he hurt it more? Whereas, if he were in Spring Training and had a slight pain, he would not try to play in meaningless games and get treatment and rest and play a week later. Nobody seemed to think of that because people were too busy tripping over themselves supporting the WBC.

    When Rodney is on the DL in the middle of April, is anyone going to have the balls, besides Joe Maddon, who is one of the best managers in the game, to blame it on his overuse in the WBC? I doubt it.

  3. indaburg - Mar 18, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Sounds like much ado about nothing.

  4. evanwins - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Russell Martin.

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