Walker Buehler Wants ‘Easier Transition’ For Players From World Baseball Classic To Regular Season

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The 2023 World Baseball Classic was arguably the most successful installment of the international tournament to date, with multiple attendance, viewership, merchandise and social media records being set.

More importantly, last year’s WBC was a hit among the players who participated, including those who represented the Los Angeles Dodgers. David Peralta said it was one of the best experiences he has been a part of, and Austin Barnes and Mookie Betts both praised the event as well.

One downside to the WBC is that it takes place less than a month before Opening Day, which deprives participants of a full Spring Training with their respective teams.

During a recent appearance on the “Just Baseball Fans” show, Walker Buehler said he wants to see a smoother transition for players going from the WBC to the regular season:

“I think we need to make that an easier transition for guys. Because I think guys trying to play in that and then the regular season is really, really tough. I wish we could have a global-level event more often that’s not detrimental to players at all.”

Some have suggested that MLB would be better off moving the WBC to the offseason. However, that would mean players have less time to spend with their families and recover from injuries before the start of the next season.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred already announced that the next WBC will take place in March 2026. The tournament is being held one year earlier to avoid a potential conflict with the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) set to expire after the 2026 season.

Is WBC to blame for injuries?

Another concern with the WBC is the rise in injuries among players who participate in the tournament. New York Mets closer Edwin Díaz sustained a complete tear of the patellar tendon in his right knee while celebrating a Team Puerto Rico win that required season-ending surgery.

“One of the things that the Dodgers noticed, we noticed, was a high percentage of pitchers who pitched in the WBC last year, over 80%, either regressed or sustained injuries over the course of the season,” agent Joel Wolfe noted during Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s introductory press conference with the Dodgers.

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