Photo: AP Images
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that Felix Hernandez has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic because of “pressure” from the Mariners (via Big League Stew).Hernandez’s decision comes at the same time that he is finalising a $135.5 million extension with the Mariners. Pulling out of the WBC also came on the same day (Friday) that the Mariners reportedly discovered something during an exam that caused them concern about Hernandez’s elbow. And while a team can keep a player out of the WBC for injury concerns, Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times was told that Hernandez is medically cleared to pitch when camp opens on Wednesday.
It will be interesting to see how Bud Selig handles this situation. After the 2009 WBC, Selig referenced teams that were against allowing their players to play by saying those owners need to put the “best interests of the game ahead of [their] own selfish, provincial interests.”
And while this tournament barely registers on the radar of the American sports fan, don’t underestimate how important this is to fans in other countries. Knobler was told by a Venezuelan journalist that news of Hernandez not pitching in the WBC was “actually worse” for many Venezuelans than a currency devaluation that happened on the same day.
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