Matt Lindstrom accepted the invitation to join the USA team in the World Baseball Classic.
Lindstrom, who throws one of the fastest fastballs in the majors, has accepted an invitation to represent the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Matt won't be the only Marlin participating in the WBC.
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez (Dominican Republic), pitcher Rick Vandenhurk (the Netherlands), reliever Renyel Pinto (Venezuela) and third baseman Jorge Cantu and infielder Alfredo Amezaga (Mexico) also are planning to participate.
Which is good for all of them, but there is a problem. Spring training begins on Feb. 14 and the players who are taking part in the WBC report, roughly, around March 1 to their respective teams. Spring training, for the players guaranteed a slot, isn't about performance it is about getting enough reps to fine tune their game for the upcoming season.
Also there is the matter of effort. Let's take Lindstrom for example. In case you didn't know Matt throws his slider about 20 percent of the time. The problem becomes if he doesn't get enough playing time to work on all of his pitches. In spring training, no one cares whether he gets a player out. What is cared about is whether he is getting his pitching arsenal fine tuned. In the WBC, he expected to get people out which could cause him to use to extend maximum effort before his body is in shape to do such and also rely on his fast ball too much.
In other words, it is possible that is slider won't be up to par when the season starts and he may be trying to throw 97 mph before he is ready.
But Mark Wiley is the pitching coach, so likely he has already figured out something to have Matt ready for the regular season.
I could go into the hitters getting enough at bats, but really, you get the idea.
The WBC is a lot of fun to watch, and sometimes produces surprising results. But I'm more interested in how the Marlins will do in 2009 and whether the players are ready for the season.