Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

Tanaka to skip World Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka said on Monday that he has decided not to participate in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Tanaka spoke with reporters, including The Associated Press, following a workout in Tokyo, where the right-hander is preparing for the upcoming season.

"Based on various factors, I thought it would be difficult to take part, so I decided not to take part," Tanaka said.

Tanaka represented Japan in the WBC in 2009 and '13 while he was with the Tohoku Rakuten Eagles, helping Japan win a second consecutive championship in 2009.

Tanaka was 14-4 last season, his third with the Yankees. He posted a 3.07 ERA and 165 strikeouts while throwing a career-high 199 2/3 innings over 31 starts.

2017 represents a potential walk year for Tanaka, who can opt out of the seven-year, $155 million deal he signed with New York prior to the '14 season. Thus far, there have been no negotiations concerning an extension.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman recently said that there have been no new health issues reported by Tanaka, who sustained a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his first Major League season but has thus far been able to avoid surgery.

Yankees pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 14.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.