David Robertson on 'rollercoaster of soreness' during World Baseball Classic: 'It's a big toll on your body'


David Robertson has stepped in to fill Edwin Diaz’s shoes as the Mets’ closer early on in the season.

The veteran reliever has allowed no runs on just four hits while striking out nine batters in 8 ⅓ innings this season. He’s a perfect 4-for-4 on save opportunities in the early going.

Robertson was thrust into the closer role after Diaz suffered a season-ending knee injury during the World Baseball Classic, a tournament that Robertson pitched in back in 2017.

Robertson joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and talked about the toll that the World Baseball Classic takes on a player both physically and mentally.

“It’s very intense very early,” Robertson said (9:14 in player above). “I prepared a lot more than I normally would have to go play in the World Baseball Classic. For guys who weren’t quite ready for it, when you get there it’s a lot. It’s a big toll on your body real quick; not just physically but mentally. There’s a lot going on.”

Not only do WBC games matter a lot more than spring training contests, but the crowds are much bigger and there’s always extra pressure when you’re representing your country, Robertson said.

“It can wear you down real quick but I can see how it will definitely spur you to the next level very quickly, very early,” he continued. “So when you step back into spring training it’s almost like a letdown.”

This year’s tournament ended on March 21st, nine days prior to MLB Opening Day. After the high-intensity games of the WBC, some players may have a hard time settling down before the regular season begins.

“I feel like the start of the season is when it comes back,” Robertson said. “So if the World Baseball Classic kind of geared more towards the end and you get to immediately go from there into the season I think it would be a little bit easier for guys to make that adjustment.”

The WBC is also different from the regular season in that teams aren’t playing every day. Players have to ramp up for the intensity of gameday and have an off day (or a few off days) to gear up for the next one.

That leads to a “rollercoaster of soreness” for pitchers and position players alike.

“It’s like pitching a playoff game right out of the gate. Your soreness and everything the next day is more than you expect. It will get you. You will feel it. You will feel it after an outing in the WBC and the position players will feel it after playing a game at full speed right out of the gate,” Robertson continued. “When you’re full go the whole time you’re going to feel it.”

While some players may feel negative effects from the WBC, Robertson thrived after pitching for Team USA in 2017. He had a career-best 1.84 ERA with the White Sox and Yankees.

“I had one of my best seasons during it in 2017. I feel like I threw a lot,” he said. “There’s no chance to turn the intensity down once the big-league season starts. You might see some changes, some guys later on in the season maybe at that 100-game mark or something like that. It just depends on the person, the individual, their work ethic, and how prepared they were when they got there.”

LISTEN on the Audacy App
Sign Up and Follow Audacy Sports
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Featured Image Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images