A-Rod decides to sit out WBC

A-Rod decides to sit out WBC

NEW YORK -- Despite saying earlier in the week that he was leaning toward playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Alex Rodriguez has decided not to participate in the event at all.

Rodriguez, the reigning American League MVP, informed the Yankees on Thursday that he would skip the event altogether.

"He called me yesterday," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I think it's best for me to stay silent on that issue. He, like all our players, have the full responsibility to make those decisions."

A-Rod, who was born in the United States, is eligible to play for the Dominican because his parents were born there. But he told the New York Post in Friday's edition that he will not participate at all, as he doesn't want to dishonor either country.

"After thoughtful deliberations with my family, I am announcing my decision to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic," Rodriguez told the paper. "When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided I will not dishonor either."

Rodriguez was named as one of 177 Major League players committed to the event during the Winter Meetings, though he was one of the few that were not attached to a country. When the event was first announced back at the All-Star Game in July, Rodriguez said that he would look for guidance from Major League Baseball and the Players Association.

Earlier this week, however, he told WFAN radio that he was leaning toward playing for the Dominican.

"That seems to be pretty much the way I'm leaning," Rodriguez said in an interview with the radio station. "That's the team I'm going to represent, kind of like what [Mike] Piazza is doing with Italy. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Friday, in his interview with The Post, that stance changed.

"I am proud to be an American citizen and to have a Dominican legacy," A-Rod told the paper. "My commitment to baseball is secondary to honoring my patriotic duties to my country and my ancestors.

"Sports participation should only include the admiration and respect an athlete has for a nation and family. I intend to play baseball only when I am dedicated to both," he added. "Playing baseball for the New York Yankees allows you to honor and advance the interest of both without division."

Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the MLBPA, hopes told The Associated Press in an e-mail that he hopes Rodriguez will change his mind.

"Alex has, and I'm sure continues, to agonize over this decision," Orza said. "I would not regard his statement [on Friday] as the final or definitive word. Alex is also devoted to the growth of baseball internationally, and is a fan of baseball in the Olympics. He realizes that the WBC serves both of those interests. We haven't spoken yet. We will. And having known and respected him since he was a drafted, my suspicion is that, in the end, fans around the world will see Alex in a WBC uniform."

Now, with his apparent decision to back out of the event, Rodriguez will be with the Yankees for all of Spring Training, while teammates Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Bernie Williams -- assuming Williams re-signs with New York -- will play in the WBC. Hideki Matsui has not yet decided whether he will play for Japan.

"The World Baseball Classic is great for baseball and will bring notice to the proud citizens of countries of many Major League Baseball players," A-Rod said. "That is something I will watch with great interest and clear conscience as I prepare for the upcoming Yankee season."

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