To protect pitchers, there will be pitch count for players when first World Baseball Classic plays in March, however, MLB did not have answer yet.
Original recommendation for pitch count was to allow about five innings, maximum 75 pitches in the WBC 2006, but several GMs suggested 60 pitches was a better and safer limitation. Technical Committee of Major League Baseball, chaired by San Diego Padres president Sandy Alderson, will continue to study this issue and decide the limitation.
Once they decide the numbers, a major league pitcher must be removed from the game when he reaches the pitch limit, unless he pitches in the middle of an at-bat. The pitcher can only complete the at-bat and be removed.
The 16 invited countries must submit rosters with up to 60 names by Jan. 17. Eligibility rules could be very open to let major leaguers play for their ancestor, like Mike Piazza of the Mets, Frank Catalonotto of the Blue Jays and Doug Mirabelli of the Red Sox might able to play for Italy.
Most primary concern is still on pitchers, although regular-season salaries of all players injured in the WBC will be covered by insurance, but no GM can accept to lost pitchers, especially their Aces. Pitchers who come back from serious injuries, including Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays and Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers will not play in the Classic.
Due to pitchers who normally throw only two or three innings in spring training exihibition games in early March, which means 75 pitches or five innings might be too much for pitchers. And there is still need more discussion to decide on the pitch count.
“Pitch count was an issue,” said Paul Archey, baseball’s vice president of international baseball operations. “But there will be starters who will be used as relievers.”
Jimmie Lee Solomon, executive vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office, said there would be pitch counts and limits on the use of pitchers. One assistant GM in the meeting said 65-70 pitches was discussed as a first-round limit, with an increase of about five pitches in the second round.