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04/06/09 3:25 PM ET

Fewer players starting '09 on DL

Only 69 Major Leaguers are out of action on Opening Day

Baseball season has arrived and the players are healthier than they have been in years.

According to The Associated Press, the 2009 Major League season began Sunday evening with 69 players on the disabled list, a sharp reduction of injuries compared to 2008, when 106 players began the year on the DL, and 2007, when the number was 97.

The only lower total since MLB expanded to 30 teams in 1998, according to the Commissioner's Office, which gave the information to the AP, was the 66 players who opened the season on the DL in 2006.

These comparatively healthy Opening Day statistics seem to refute the notion that the recently completed second World Baseball Classic caused more injuries than a normal Spring Training. The inaugural Classic was played in 2006.

"It certainly does not support the theory that the [Classic] causes more injuries," MLB executive vice president of labor relations Rob Manfred told the AP.

"More important, the [Classic] injuries were, almost exclusively, the type of small injuries that are common in Spring Training, with or without the [Classic]."

Doug Miller is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.