[Update: 8:45pm] Never mind. Marc Topkin brings us back from the ledge by reminding us that Garza is ineligible for the WBC because of his off-season foot surgery. And Navarro had already informed Venezuelan officials that he is not interested in playing this year.
[8:38pm] We already knew Scott Kazmir, JP Howell and Aki Iwamura would be participating in the World Baseball Classic. We had a good hunch that Grant Balfour, Carlos Pena and Dioner Navarro would be on the rosters of their respective homelands. And we already knew that Evan Longoria wanted to play. But none of that prepared us for what was just thrown in our collective laps.
In addition to the above seven players, Matt Garza has been added to the roster for Mexico.
The following Rays are on the provisional rosters for their respective countries: Grant Balfour, Australia; Matt Garza, Mexico; Akinori Iwamura, Japan; Dioner Navarro, Venezuela; Carlos Pena, Dominican Republic; and J.P. Howell, Scott Kazmir and Evan Longoria, USA.
If there we could have picked two players to not play in the WBC, it would have been Kazmir and Garza. Kazmir was never right in 2008, suffering an elbow injury and new looking comfortable with his mechanics. And Garza was the one starting pitcher who showed the largest increase in workload in 2008. His 21.8% increase in innings pitched over the previous season, along with a shortened off-season, already had us concerned that Garza is at risk of pitching with a tired arm (at best) or injury (at worst).
Eight players in the WBC? Including four (!) of the Rays 12 pitchers? If you guys have any good luck charms, make sure they are in proper working order this March.
Now if you will excuse us, we are going to bang our heads on the wall. Ugh.