|Chipper on the WBC|
Written by Bjoern Hartig (Contact & Archive) on March 17, 2009
Atlanta's third baseman Chipper Jones strained his oblique muscle during batting practice before the game against the Netherlands. He blames the WBC schedule and says changes are necessary.
“There’s some serious problems with the WBC setup,” said Jones, who will skip the rest of the tournament. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. But I wouldn’t do it again under the current format. There’s way too many days off. This tournament could be over by now.”
“Just way too many days off,” he said. “We stayed in Toronto for a week and played three games. I don’t know if you ever stayed in Toronto, but it’s not exactly Las Vegas. To say that we were plucking our eyebrows out one at a time would be an understatement.
“You’re not getting the work in that you should. You’re getting reps, but you’re not getting the at-bats that you need.
“Getting to share a clubhouse with the guys and getting to know people on a different level is the cool part about it. But when you’re talking about a three-week tournament, and you could literally play eight games in three weeks, it’s just too much down time for spring training.”
Maybe the WBC would gain from a tougher schedule. Especially the seeding games seem unnecessary and with all the spring training games going on in the meantime, the off days really take away from the excitement in my opinion.
“I took about 20 swings in batting practice and hit a ball about 450 feet to right-center field, and I felt it,” he said. “I stuck my thumb in it just to try and loosen it up a little bit and [hitting coach] Reggie Smith saw me and came up to me and said, ‘Don’t mess around with that thing. If you feel it, get out of there.’ “
After two more swings, Jones took his advice. After being examined in Miami, he decided to pull the plug and return to Braves camp. (emphasis mine