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Should Madison Bumgarner Pitch in the World Baseball Classic?

We have seen players that participate in the World Baseball Classic get injured in the past, or not be quite as effective during the regular season. Should the Giants be okay with their ace playing for Team USA?

About a week ago, talk surfaced concerning Giant’s stating pitcher Madison Bumgarner and his possible involvement with Team USA in the upcoming 2017 World Baseball Classic. Several credited sources suggested that the snot-rocketing ace may be joining the club sometime after the first round of pool play. Bumgarner would clearly be a valuable asset for manager Jim Leyland, and his track record of big-game performances could very well be the missing key for a nation that hasn’t won a WBC title, and has only reached as far as the semi-finals (taking 4th, way back in 2009).

            Both the Giants and Bum’s agents have declined to comment on the situation. But, that doesn’t necessarily eliminate the possibility of his appearance. San Francisco will be well represented in the WBC this year with catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford speculated to play with Team USA, pitcher Johnny Cuteto committing to play for his home country of the Dominican Republic, and pitcher Albert Suarez playing for the Venezuelan team.

            The foremost concern for any player in participating in the World Baseball Classic is safety. Opportunity to play is always accompanied by opportunity for injury, so of course Major League clubs tend to get a little fidgety when the subject is brought up. This is especially true when you’re talking about a World Series MVP caliber player. Even more so when that player is a pitcher. With the strong trend of monitoring inning and pitches, the less your guy throws when it’s not for the benefit of a pennant race, the better.

            But ‘pitch-count’ isn’t a word in this man’s vocabulary. Last year MadBum logged a 15-9 record over 34 games for the orange and black, posting a career best 2.14 ERA spanning 226.2 innings. The guy is a horse, and he wants to work. You have to take that into consideration too. He is a strong-willed dude, and if he really wants to pitch, he’s probably going to pitch.

            The WBC takes place in March, here in the US, and clashes with the spring training schedule. Clearly Bumgarner isn’t too worried about himself missing those workouts, and the Giants probably aren’t either. Last year Madison did suffer some minor injuries during his stint in the Cactus league, as issues in his rib and plant foot caused a few scratchy outings.

With San Francisco coming off a long, stressful season and a short playoff run, we Giants fans tend think it’s probably a good idea for the foreman of the Giant’s rotation to take a bit of a breather and come into the season well rested and strong as ever— no matter how cool it would be to see him and Buster be the starting battery of the championship game. However, the Giants know what they’re doing. Mr. Bumgarner does too. We’re talking about professional athletes here. If there’s even the slightest doubt or health concern over the issue, one or both of the parties will shut it down. If not, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a big lefty sporting a red, white, and blue number 40 jersey out there. Maybe that’s why Yasiel Puig renounced his playing for the Mexican Team last month…

Oh, and no- he probably won’t hit during the tournament.


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