The debate has raged on since its inception. Is pitching in the World Baseball Classic more harmful than beneficial. There is quite a bit of evidence to say that playing pitching in the event does not lead to injury and may actually help players be more prepared for the season. This seems to be the mindset the Atlanta Braves have in regards to Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel.
According to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves feel the WBC could help Medlen and Kimbrel, not hurt them. Generally, the Braves to not keep their players from playing in any offseason leagues or events. They seems to be one of the most liberal with the idea of allowing their players prepare for the upcoming season in a truly competitive environment.
Both Medlen and Kimbrel have battled through injuries over the last couple seasons. Medlen underwent Tommy John surgery in in 2011 and made his comeback in 2012. Kimbrel broke down toward the end of the 2011 season, but he recovered quite well for 2012. Playing in the WBC could easily be viewed as an unnecessary risk. But both are excited for the opportunity.
“I’ve been looking forward to it,” Kimbrel said. “It’s something I wanted to do as soon as I saw it was coming up, that they were having it again this spring. Definitely honored to be asked to play for Team USA.”
Medlen had the best season of his career last year. He finished the season 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA. Medlen split time between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Kimbrel had another dominant season in 2012. He saved 42 goes after saving 46 in 2011. He finished last season with a 1.01 ERA.
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