Ben Cherington ‘OK’ With Red Sox Playing in World Baseball Classic, But Admits There’s Sometimes Some Anxiety

Ben CheringtonWhile the World Baseball Classic might be exciting for fans, it can be a rather stressful time for members of major league front offices.

Four members of the Red Sox — Shane Victorino (United States), Alfredo Aceves (Mexico), Xander Bogaerts (Netherlands) and Jose De La Torre (Puerto Rico) — are listed on the provisional rosters for this year’s WBC, which will be held in San Francisco. It’s the third edition of the event, and while it provides an opportunity to see some of baseball’s best go head-to-head on a global stage, there’s always going to be the inherent injury risk.

“I guess whenever you have less control over a player you have a little bit of anxiety,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said of the WBC before Thursday’s Red Sox Town Hall. “But, look, they’re going to be playing games one way or another. They’re either going to be playing games in Fort Myers [for spring training] or in the WBC. I guess perhaps the intensity level is a little bit different but you take it case by case.”

Case by case certainly seems to be the approach taken by this year’s Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia, who has battled finger injuries, opted to skip the event, and most others elected to do the same. The aforementioned quartet decided the experience is worthwhile, though, and Cherington is all right with their decision.

“It’s case by case, but the guys right now that are candidates to play we’re OK with,” Cherington said. “And those are guys that we’ve talked to and talked about and are comfortable with their participation.”

Cherington cites the safeguards that have been put in place for his increased comfort level, and he said that he supports the event. Red Sox manager John Farrell also wouldn’t put down the WBC, although he was quick to point out how important it is for major league teams to spend time together before the season, especially when there are new players involved.

“Well there’s a couple of things that quickly come to mind,” Farrell said. “In this first spring training for us, for the new staff, with a number of new players, the time that we spend together will be critical for us, as I personally feel how we identify each other is going to be key. But we’re not going to stand in the way, nor can we stand in the way of the WBC and representing countries that our players are from. So what that final roster looks like, who we might miss, we’ll probably reserve judgment until we see the total number of players that might be out of camp.”

The World Baseball Classic will kick off on March 2, and Japan will enter as the two-time defending champion.

Tune in to the Red Sox Town Hall on NESN at 11 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 19.