NEW YORK -- Though the Mets are sending more players to next month's World Baseball Classic than just about any other team, veteran shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will not be among their traveling contingent. And he's vocally disappointed by it.
Cabrera wrote on Instagram on Thursday that he will not participate in the Classic, blaming Venezuela general manager Carlos Guillen for his absence. Cabrera later clarified to the Venezuelan sports newspaper Diario Meridiano that while manager Omar Vizquel wanted him on the team, Guillen did not place him on the roster. Cabrera said he went as far as to purchase tickets for friends and family before learning he would not participate.
When reached Thursday afternoon, two of Cabrera's representatives said they had not been briefed on the situation. Guillen did not return a call seeking comment.
Cabrera, 31, appeared in all three of Venezuela's games in the 2013 Classic, starting two at shortstop and one as a designated hitter. He is coming off arguably the best season of his career, batting .280 with 23 home runs and a career-high .810 OPS in 141 games for the Mets. The two primary shortstops on Venezuela's roster, Kansas City's Alcides Escobar and Philadelphia's Freddy Galvis, hit .261/.292/.350 and .241/.274/.399, respectively.
The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
This is not the first time Team Venezuela has experienced turbulence leading up to the tournament. Back in November, a disagreement between Guillen and Vizquel nearly led to the former replacing the latter as manager. But players rallied to the support of Vizquel, who ultimately retained his job.
If there is a side benefit to Cabrera missing this year's Classic, it is that he will have more time to ease into Spring Training after playing nearly all of last season through a strained patellar tendon in his left knee. Cabrera never had the knee surgically repaired, instead reporting to Venezuelan winter ball in an attempt to keep in shape for the Classic. Now, he will have extra time to ready his body for the regular season.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.