VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
WBC players look to sustain success

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - Jose Reyes bounced around the clubhouse exuding his usual energy and joked with a few teammates before putting on his Toronto Blue Jays' uniform.

Advertisement
Back from helping the Dominican Republic win the World Baseball Classic, Reyes is eager to help his new team contend in a tough AL East. There's no WBC hangover for the four-time All-Star shortstop.

``I don't want to play down. I want to play the same way I played in the WBC because the season is right around the corner,'' Reyes said Friday. ``I'm going to continue to work on my game and be ready to go.''

Reyes was back in the leadoff spot in Toronto's lineup for the first time since March 2. He went 0 for 1 with two walks in a 1-0 win over Boston. Blue Jays designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion also returned to the team after playing for the Dominican Republic. He didn't start against the Red Sox because of a finger injury.

The laid-back atmosphere at spring training doesn't compare to the intensity level of the WBC games where there's so much pride at stake playing for your country. While Reyes doesn't need much motivation, other players could take a little time to adjust.

``I'm sure it'll be a little bit of a letdown,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ``I'm sure they're glad to be back with their team. A guy like Reyes, he's enthusiastic about everything he does.''

Robinson Cano, the MVP of the WBC, returned to the New York Yankees on Thursday, and picked up their only hit in a loss to Minnesota on Thursday night. The four-time All-Star second baseman is even more important to the Yankees now that they're missing Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson, and Derek Jeter's status is uncertain.

``I want to play the game the same way with the same intensity,'' he said. ``It's a different mindset in spring training than playing in the WBC. You don't want to overdo it. You have to go out there and play hard and prepare for the season.''

Tony Pena, the Yankees bench coach, managed the Dominican Republic to the island nation's first international title in its third try. He stressed to his players the importance of working hard and carrying their success over into the regular season with their major league teams.

``We talked about them keeping the intensity,'' Pena said. ``In the WBC, they played with so much emotion. Hopefully they continue the same thing.''

The Minnesota Twins had 13 players compete in the WBC, tied with Milwaukee for most in the majors. Manager Ron Gardenhire hasn't noticed his guys lacking focus or playing with any less energy since returning.

``This is the big leagues. This is their job,'' he said. ``I think these guys love being on a baseball field. That was fun watching the WBC. All of our guys had a blast, but they were excited to get back to our club and get ready for the season.''

Many managers would prefer keeping their players in camp for obvious reasons. No one wants to risk losing a key player to injury. Teixeira, Hanley Ramirez and David Wright each were injured during the WBC.

Another problem is lack of playing time. Some guys sat on the bench or in the bullpen and had trouble staying sharp during the WBC, so they have to catch up when they're back in camp. This could be a setback for players competing for roster spots or starting jobs.

On the other side of that argument, the experience of playing in a world-class tournament can be benefit younger players.

``There are some issues,'' Gardenhire said. ``Some guys didn't get in, didn't pitch and they were gone for a few days, but we also look at it like what a great experience it is being around some of the best players in the world. Some of our young guys got to take batting practice and take ground balls with some of the greatest players in the world, and that can really help them.

``I'm happy for our guys that went and I'm happy to have them back.''

Most managers ease their returning players back into the lineup, rest them when their teams have long road trips and then treat them as normal during the final days of spring training.

Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney saved seven of the Dominican Republic's eight wins and had a 0.00 ERA. So, Rays manager Joe Maddon will keep a close eye on him.

``We've got to watch him,'' Maddon said. ``Yes, there's a physical impact. I don't know how that's going to play out by the end of the year. Let him chill for a little bit and then get back to work.''

Granderson, a member of the U.S. team in the 2009 WBC, doesn't think it has much of a carry-over effect on players during the regular season. He was with Detroit four years ago, and teammates Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen also competed in the WBC.

``When I came back, I got thrown right into the mix,'' Granderson said. ``We came back and collectively played well. We had a pretty good season and competed in a very competitive AL Central. I don't think there was any major downswing.''

Time will tell if that holds true again.

---

Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Akins: Diamond Trends - Saturday
Roberts: Weekend Outlook
Lawrence: April Pitchers Report
Contreras' slam powers Cubs over Reds
Tigers' Cabrera to DL with groin injury
Bumgarner injured in dirt bike accident
Pedroia still ailing after slide
White Sox recall Soto from DL
Tigers CF Jones hit in face by pitch
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
4-0 L4, 13-3 +1,154 This Year
14-5 +965 L4 Days, 14-5 L19 GPlays
7-4 +437 L11 Picks, +1,416 TY
7-1 L8 Guarantees, 9-4 L13 Picks
7-2 L3 Days, 14-6 +905 L20
11-5, +618 G-Plays This Year
11-4, +655 MLB Picks Y'day
6-3 Guaranteed Plays TY
4-0, +435 L4 Selections
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - Kevin Rogers
2017 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1416
Joe Nelson + 1154
Chip Chirimbes + 866
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 1150
Joe Nelson + 761
Chip Chirimbes + 708
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 400
John Fisher + 357
NeiltheGreek + 113
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 924
Doc's Sports + 618
Joe Nelson + 559
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 538
Doc's Sports + 324
Michael Black + 300
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 623
Kevin Rogers + 505
Joe Nelson + 495
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership