LAKELAND, Fla. -- Justin Verlander likes the idea of pitching for Team USA, and he would like to pitch in the World Baseball Classic some year. This, however, will not be the year.
Simply put, after last year's trip to the World Series and a quick offseason, he ultimately decided that he can't get his arm in the shape he'd want it to be in order to pitch on that stage next month. Thus he told Team USA manager Joe Torre last week that he won't be joining the team.
Verlander told reporters on Monday at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"I don't want to have to feel rushed to catch up to where I need to be," Verlander said.
Verlander had left open the possibility of taking part when provisional rosters were announced last month. Rosters are scheduled to be finalized next week; Verlander was set to make a decision by Feb. 20.
In a normal year, Verlander's arm probably wouldn't have been a question. But after the wear and tear of 266 innings last year, and that coming off 271 innings the year before, Verlander held off on his throwing program until January. That still allows plenty of time for him to be ready for the 2013 season thanks to a longer Spring Training, pitching coach Jeff Jones said.
For the timetable of the World Baseball Classic, however, it's difficult. Team USA plays from March 8-10, and Verlander -- knowing his intensity when it comes to big games -- would want to be further along in his throwing than he'd normally be for a Spring Training game.
Still, he said last month that he wanted to wait until he had thrown a couple of bullpen sessions before deciding once and for all.
"I knew it was going to be a long shot the whole time," he said, "but I wanted to give it a shot."
Had Verlander taken part in the Classic, he would have been one of the headliners, no matter which game he pitched. The soon-to-be 30-year-old fell a few votes shy of a second straight American League Cy Young Award last fall after taking pitching's Triple Crown in 2011.
Team USA added Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez to the roster over the weekend and has an open spot for a pitcher, since Atlanta's Kris Medlen has pulled out.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.