ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford has elected not to play the World Baseball Classic next month.
The Devil Rays' left fielder told the Tampa Tribune he was disappointed, because he wanted to represent the United States, but his left wrist has been nagging him slightly since he began hitting and he thought it would be better for him to prepare for the season.
Crawford missed the final five games of the 2005 season -- save for an appearance as a defensive replacement -- with a sore wrist. However, he said he doesn't anticipate his wrist preventing him from being ready to start the season with the Rays.
Crawford's departure leaves at least three Rays players in the World Baseball Classic, to be played March 3-20. Reliever Dan Miceli will pitch for Italy, second baseman Jorge Cantu will play for Mexico, and Minor League catcher Chairon Isenia will play for the Netherlands. Shortstop Julio Lugo is on the Dominican Republic's provisional roster.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.