Lakeland, FL – Team USA will not have arguably its best pitcher for the upcoming World Baseball Classic, as Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander has announced that he will decline an invitation to participate in the event.
Verlander told reporters of his intention to skip the WBC upon arriving to Detroit's spring training complex on Monday. The 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner said he didn't think his arm would be ready for competitive action by the time the United States begins play in early March.
"I don't want to have to feel rushed to catch up to where I need to be," he stated.
Verlander is coming off a campaign in which he threw a total of 266 innings between the regular season and playoffs. Because of that heavy workload, he said he began his offseason throwing program later that usual to allow his arm time to rest.
The standout right-hander had been on Team USA's provisional roster announced in January.
Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez was added to Team USA's roster over the weekend and still has an open spot for a pitcher after Atlanta's Kris Medlen recently pulled out.