When you see the amount of players on the American team that are leaving the WBC due to an injury everyday, it goes a way in justifying all those players who chose not to participate in the event this season. It also means that even more players are going to be skipping the next WBC, but that doesn't mean there aren't players who are still willing to participate.
Torii Hunter has been following the event this spring and he said that while watching David Wright's walk-off hit to beat Venezuela on Tuesday night and the ensuing dog pile he thought to himself that he wished he could be there. After all, he never turned down a chance to play because nobody ever asked him to. Hunter thinks some remarks he made in 2006 about the first WBC kept him off the roster this time around.
Back in 2006 Hunter made some public comments about how he thought playing in the WBC could hurt a team's chemistry going into the season due to all the players who aren't with their MLB teams during spring training. Now he's sure that's why Curtis Granderson and Shane Victorino were chosen over him.
"Oh yeah, they remember stuff like that -- it's probably why I never got asked," Hunter said. "I wasn't saying it's a bad event. I think it's good for countries to showcase their talents.
"I was just saying, if guys leave their teams and something happens, owners and managers would be upset. But it's no big deal. I'm excited to see those guys represent."
Personally I don't think Hunter's mouth is what kept him off the team this time around. After all, he wasn't asked in 2006 either, and he hadn't said anything at that point. No, I think his omission had a lot more to do with the fact that the team was looking for a centerfielder with more speed and an ability to hit lead-off if need be. Hunter has some speed and is a great defensive player, but he's more valuable as a middle of the order type of guy, and the United States has plenty of those guys on the roster already.
Or at least they did before everybody started getting injured.
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Torii Hunter Thinks His Mouth Kept Him Out of the WBC originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Thu, 19 Mar 2009 12:35:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.