"He's not playing [Tuesday]," Melvin said. "We'll evaluate it after [Tuesday's] game and go from there. Either way, win or lose, he'll be heading back this way so we can take a look at him."
The Brewers train in Arizona. If the U.S. wins Tuesday, it will advance to the semifinals Saturday in Los Angeles. A loss would eliminate the Americans from the tournament.
The loss of Braun leaves Team USA manager
If DeRosa plays third, Victorino is likely to play left field in Braun's place. Victorino, the Phillies center fielder, has played in 63 big league games in left field. (Johnson could also swap
"One of the things we have to find out is why these injuries seem to be happening more with the USA team and not the other teams," Melvin said. "It would be interesting to know."
Said another general manager, "This is a nightmare for any GM."
Braun speculated that Asian clubs benefited from a longer pre-WBC training camp and that Latin America players benefited from winter ball. "It's probably a case of too much too fast," Braun said.
"One site," Youkilis said. "It cuts down on all the traveling and off days instead of clubs flying all over the place. You play it in one site and it will almost be like the Super Bowl. You win you get a day off, you lose you play the next day. Two losses and you're eliminated. You can play it in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Toronto, wherever, but play it at one site. You could probably play the whole tournament in 10 days instead of three weeks."
Braun said he liked the idea, and suggested Los Angeles and Anaheim could host the tournament if a second stadium improved logistics. In any case, the WBC needs to listen to the players if this tournament is going to make it big, not the sponsors and marketers. If you make the tournament as player-friendly as possible, you'll get the best players and best competition, and everything else flows from that. Let the players drive the tournament, not the suits.
"If you take care of the baseball side first, everything else will take care of itself," Melvin said.
Just hours earlier, the New York Yankees played a routine spring training exhibition game in Florida and drew 10,727 fans.
And so Team USA, playing a meaningful elimination game, outdrew a spring training game by a whopping total of 332 people. The U.S. players were disappointed in the crowd, just as they were on Saturday when a clear majority of fans rooted against them for Puerto Rico. So much for home-field advantage.
"It's pretty awesome," Puerto Rico first baseman
It was a night that actually made you sympathetic to the United States team. The Americans can't get anything close to this kind of passion in their own country. Tuesday night they again will play Puerto Rico with all the elements defining them as the "road" team. It will be
And the pressure falls squarely on the United States. Johnson began this tournament declaring his club the team to beat. And while the WBC doesn't necessarily need the USA in the semifinals to sell the event -- not when the goal is to grow the game internationally -- another second-round knockout means another tournament without gaining traction to most fickle baseball audience for this event, the American audience, which includes the American players.