Kansas City Royal veteran hurler Bruce Chen has decided to pass on his chance to pitch for China in this year’s World Baseball Classic. This news was relayed via Bruce Chen’s twitter account @ChenMusic. No specific reason was given but Chen said “I want to thank
#WBC #teamchina @royals and the fans for all the support. Now I am working on getting ready for this upcoming season” in one tweet and thanked the Team China coaching staff in another.
Pitchers are fragile creatures under the best of circumstances and teams must be nervous when their pitchers agree to pitch in the WBC. No team would be happy with a serious injury to any of their players but it would have to be especially frustrating when players get hurt playing for someone other than the team in which they are under contract. There is no indication Chen was pressured by the Royals into dropping out but one has to wonder.
Chen is certainly not the most important Royal to have agreed to play in the WBC but after Salvador Perez and Kelvin Herrera, he has is probably the next most key player. As speculation grows that the Royals may try to trade Chen before the season starts, Kansas City has to feel better that he has backed out. It will be interesting to see if Perez and Herrera stick to their international commitments.