The Seattle Mariners made it clear to third baseman Adrian Beltre that the decision whether to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic was all his – though they had their preference.
On Tuesday, Beltre was placed on the 28-man roster for the Dominican team, but the Mariners still hadn’t heard Beltre’s decision. Being on the roster doesn’t necessarily mean the player has agreed to play.
"We give them our opinion, and we’ve discouraged him that from a health standpoint to make sure he’s 100 per cent," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He feels awfully good. He’s judging whether it’s going to help him or hurt him. My discussion with him was to be awfully smart."
Coming off season-ending injuries and surgeries to his left thumb and shoulder, Beltre came to camp aching to play in the WBC. Just as clearly, the Mainers wanted him not to, but didn’t force the issue.
"I would prefer that he stays in camp because of the injuries he had last year. It’s important that he take it a little bit slower," Wakamatsu said. "I prefaced it with ‘This is going to be your decision.’ From a managing standpoint, as someone who cares about his health and his future, I wouldn’t recommend it."
Beltre was listed on the WBC roster released today, along with seven other players on the 40-man roster – Ichiro Suzuki, Kenji Johjima, Endy Chavez, Carlos Silva, Felix Hernandez, Jose Lopez and Greg Halman.
That will put a serious dent in the depth chart beginning March 1, when the non-Asian WBC teams begin working out.
"We’re trying to bring the club together a little bit and create the work ethic," Wakamatsu said. "You always like to be able to conrol your on destiny and with them not here I think they’re a little bit removed from that."
For now, the team is scrambling to find out what Beltre has decided. They may not know until he shows up for work Wednesday morning.