Selig defends World Classic, dismisses injury fears

Updated: March 4, 2006, 8:14 PM ET
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Baseball commissioner Bud Selig defended the World Baseball Classic on Saturday, dismissing criticism that players put themselves at further risk of injury by participating.

New York owner George Steinbrenner has said he is worried star players might get injured, and some general managers have not been enthusiastic. At Legends Field in Tampa, Fla., the Yankees posted a sign apologizing to fans that some players were missing because they were at the WBC.

"You mean guys don't get injured in spring training?" Selig said. "Guys get hurt walking down the street. "All the managers, pitching coaches [are] very sensitive. Look, you can always pick at something, but there's a broader picture, a grander picture."

Several stars, such as Pedro Martinez and Barry Bonds, dropped out of the tournament because they are rehabilitating injuries. Manny Ramirez won't play because he doesn't think he is ready, and Vladimir Guerrero opted out after three cousins were killed in a car accident.

"If a player has a physical problem, I understand," Selig said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press