BRADENTON, Fla. -- Upon further review, Wandy Rodriguez and Edinson Volquez have done this before. This would not be the first time the two pitchers shared the same rotation. The last time they did it, their team won a world title.
OK, it wasn't a World Series title. It was last spring's World Baseball Classic, and Rodriguez and Volquez were the big guns as the Dominican Republic went undefeated (8-0) to capture the quadrennial event.
Which raises another, more uncomfortable issue: the affect of Classic participation, due to its scheduling at the dawn of Spring Training, on pitchers' subsequent seasons.
It is a trite subject, but one that might interest the Pirates anew. Volquez had two wins in three starts for the Dominican, then posted a 5.71 ERA for the Padres and the Dodgers. Rodriguez went 1-0 with an 0.96 ERA in two starts, then broke down the first week of June. The third starter, Minnesota's Samuel Deduno, posted two wins and an 0.69 ERA in three starts, then lasted into August before requiring shoulder surgery.
"There have been studies done on pitchers affected or players hurt [by WBC participation]. Things have been brought to MLB's attention," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "We've done some work for our own information. I've had conversations with other managers on, 'Is there anything to it?' I don't think we've come up with anything concrete. We're still trying to figure it all out."