The Texas Rangers have some concerns about Martin Perez pitching in the World Baseball Classic during spring training, but also aren’t likely to prevent the left-hander from joining the Venezuelan team.
Perez logged career-highs in innings (198 2/3) and starts (33) in 2016, his first full season after Tommy John surgery. He wanted to pitch in the Venezuelan Winter League to prepare for the WBC, but the Rangers nixed that idea.
General manager Jon Daniels said that the club’s concerns are more anecdotal than objective.
“It’s the intensity level earlier than a lot of these guys are used to, especially coming off a longer season,” Daniels said. “There’s no data to suggest it’s any more dangerous. We’re just protective. This guy is meaningful to our fortunes this season.”
The Rangers are planning to submit by Friday forms that allow them to object allowing right-hander Yu Darvish (Japan), shortstop Elvis Andrus (Venezuela) and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo (Korea) from participating. Each falls into the criteria regarding injuries and injury risk, but Daniels said that the WBC makes the final call.
So does catcher Robinson Chirinos, but the Rangers aren’t too concerned about his health after a season in which he broke his arm in April. He was also hit by a pitch recently in winter ball, but the Rangers believe that he isn’t seriously injured.
Jurickson Profar said that he plans to play for the Kingdom of the Netherlands as long as the Rangers don’t trade him. He said that he would likely play in the outfield.
Lefty reliever Alex Claudio will pitch for Puerto Rico.