Because Ayala’s winter ball team in Mexico won the Caribbean Series championship, his winter ball season just ended 11 days ago.
While five Orioles players plan on playing in the WBC – center fielder Adam Jones (United States), pitcher Pedro Strop (Dominican Republic), infielder Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands), catcher Chris Robinson (Canada) and catcher Allan de San Miguel (Australia) – Ayala is the third Orioles pitcher to decide he will not play. Closer Jim Johnson (United States) and starter Miguel Gonzalez (Mexico) both declined invitations to pitch in the WBC.
“It’s a catch-22 because there’s a lot of guys that, I went through it myself, you come back from winter ball, you pitched a lot of innings and it’s how much time to take off,” Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair said. “When to get ready? Do you stop completely? Obviously he’s not stopped completely but we got to stretch out the recovery time but still pitch. It’s going to take a lot of input from Luis as to how he’s feeling as to what we do.”
Ayala has been slowed during camp, throwing just one bullpen through the first six days of spring training camp.
The Mexican WBC roster had been in limbo because the Mexican Baseball League – the country’s professional summer league – did not want its players to participate in the WBC. In Mexico, Ayala’s rights belong to one of those teams, Saltillo.
“It’s got to be a tough decision,” Adair said. “You won the Caribbean series, go through all that. Obviously he loves his country. But whatever reasons he has decided not to and I’m sure he’s kind of gone back and forth on that.”