ARLINGTON -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish has decided not to pitch for Japan next spring in the World Baseball Classic. Darvish, who was a member of the Japanese team that won the Classic in 2009, issued a statement through the Rangers on Tuesday that said he would not participate in the 2013 tournament. "After much deliberation, which has included a lot of consultation with my coaches and trainers, I have decided that I will not play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic," Darvish said. "This was a very difficult decision for me as it is always a tremendous honor to represent my native country of Japan. I greatly enjoyed being a part of the 2009 Championship ballclub and I will be supporting this year's team as they look to defend their title. There are many very talented players in Japan and I am confident this team will uphold Japan's great tradition in this event."
Darvish is coming off his first season in the United States and was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 starts and 191 innings. He was also the starter and losing pitcher in the Rangers' 5-1 loss to the Orioles in the American League Wild Card Game. "Given my substantial workload over the last few seasons and the numerous changes I've endured in my move to the United States, I have decided with my team of advisors that getting ample rest is the most important thing for me right now as I prepare for the 2013 season," Darvish said. "My ultimate goal is to help win a World Series with the Texas Rangers and to share that accomplishment with the great baseball fans in Japan. I look forward to next season and am excited about our chances of winning." The Rangers also issued a statement that said, "Yu has informed the Rangers of his plans regarding the 2013 World Baseball Classic. We support what had to be a very difficult decision for him to make. He made an outstanding transition in his first year in Major League Baseball and we look forward to another strong season from him in 2013." Darvish was 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five games, including two starts, for Japan in 2009. He earned the victory in the championship game against Korea and also closed out the semifinal victory over the United States. Darvish would have been a huge part of the Japanese team next spring. He pitched seven seasons in Japan and was 93-38 with a 1.99 ERA in 167 games with the Nippon Ham Fighters before signing with the Rangers last winter. "I know it was a tough decision for him," general manager Jon Daniels said. "When he takes the mound for us, he's not only representing us but his country as well. And he wanted to be sure he does everything he can to prepare for that. He felt this was the way to go and we support him in that." The Rangers have a number of players who could be sought after by their home country to play next spring in the Classic. Outfielder Nelson Cruz played for the Dominican Republic in 2009 and Adrian Beltre played for it in 2006. Shortstop Elvis Andrus will likely be asked by Venezuela to play and so could pitcher Martin Perez. Catcher Geovany Soto played for Puerto Rico in 2009 and Michael Young played for the United States in 2006. Josh Hamilton was asked to play for the United States in 2009 but declined. Second baseman Ian Kinsler could be a candidate for next year's United States team.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.