Quick notes on major league pitchers
who took part in Thursday's WBC games, and subsequent eligibility for later
games based on WBC pitch count rules:
Dominican Republic: Odalis Perez threw 42 pitches in his middling start
against Italy. Jorge Sosa threw 40 pitches in an excellent four-inning relief
stint (the DR was up just 4-3 when he entered the game in the 4th). Having seen
Sosa come up in the Devil Rays' chain, I don't think he's ever been so mentally
involved in a game on March 9th in his life. Both Perez and Sosa, as well as
Bartolo Colon, are ineligible for the Dominicans' meaningless game against
Australia on Friday; Daniel Cabrera will start. However, when the second round
starts on Sunday, everyone on the staff will be eligible unless Cabrera or a
reliever hits the 50-pitch mark on Friday. Colon likely gets the start on Sunday
night against the Puerto Rica-Cuba winner. The scary outing will be Monday
afternoon in the heat on the Field Turf surface at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San
Juan; Perez and/or Sosa will get that call versus the Puerto Rica-Cuba loser.
Venezuela: Kelvim Escobar threw 63 pitches in his start against
Australia. When Venezuela begins the second round on Sunday, they'll have three
ineligible pitchers: Escobar, Freddy Garcia and Carlos Silva. Escobar will be
ineligible on Monday as well. Both the Venezuelans and Dominicans play on Sunday
and Monday before their rematch on Tuesday. Therefore, expect anyone pitching in
relief for either team on Sunday to be rested on Monday in order to be eligible
on Tuesday (you can pitch three games in a row in the WBC, but not three
straight days). You think the Twins' Ron Gardenhire was upset after Johan
Santana threw 61 pitches on Tuesday? Wait until he finds out Santana will
start on Sunday afternoon in that Field Turf heat at Bithorn against the
Puerto Rica-Cuba loser. Garcia will get the call on Monday night against the
Puerto Rica-Cuba winner.
BTW, Cuba's Yuliesky Gourriel has been an absolute sensation so far;
personally, I can't wait until he comes up against either Santana or Colon for
the first time on Sunday.
Mexico: Esteban Loaiza threw 68 pitches in his start against Canada,
putting together a clinic on how to pitch in a big game when your team scores
four runs in the top of the first. He will be ineligible for Mexico's second
round opener against Korea on Sunday, as will Francisco Campos, but everyone
else will be able to go.
Canada: Jeff Francis threw 36 pitches, five of which went for extra
bases. He'll remember this game for a while. No one else returning to an MLB
camp threw more than 16 pitches.
Team USA note: if Roger Clemens hits 50 pitches versus South Africa on
Friday, he'd be ineligible until Thursday and likely would not pitch in the
semis or final if the Americans get that far.
Oh, and the Orioles' Calvin Maduro threw 62 pitches in relief for the
Netherlands against Cuba on Thursday night. Between the workloads assumed by Maduro, Bruce Chen,
Erik Bedard and Adam Loewen this week, Orioles fans can be excused for hating
this stinkin' tournament. The good news is that everyone heads back to the O's
camp this weekend except for Daniel Cabrera and Mexico's Rodrigo Lopez, who'll
probably start against Korea on Sunday.