Hanrahan decides to head to Classic

Hanrahan decides to head to Classic

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals closer Joel Hanrahan decided to represent Team USA in the World Baseball Classic on Monday. He will join the team in Clearwater, Fla., and work out on Tuesday.

The news was announced a day after Hanrahan pitched one inning and gave up one unearned run against the Orioles at Space Coast Stadium. Later that night, Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein recommended to Team USA that Hanrahan should be on the team.

A spot on the roster opened up when Blue Jays closer B.J. Ryan pulled himself out due to concerns about the current state of his mechanics.

Hanrahan said it was a tough decision to go to the Classic because he still has a lot of work to do on the mound and is still learning how to throw a changeup. But after having conversations with manager Manny Acta and pitching coach Randy St. Claire, Hanrahan decided to go for it.

"When [Acta and St. Claire] gave me the approval, I decided to do it," Hanrahan said. "I only have a year in the big leagues. I still have some work to do. I'm trying to develop my changeup this year. There is still work to do to get ready for the season. You are still committed to the Nationals -- you have to be 100 percent for them when April 6 comes around."

Hanrahan is in his first full season as the Nationals' closer. Last year, he was 6-3 with a 3.95 ERA and nine saves.

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