Tigers’ ace Verlander passes on WBC invite

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Tigers’ ace Verlander passes on WBC invite

Former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers has declined an invitation to pitch for the United States at next month’s World Baseball Classic (WBC).

Verlander, who helped the Tigers reach last year’s World Series, had left open the possibility of participating in the WBC when provisional rosters were announced last month but now said he needs the time to prepare for the upcoming 2013 Major League Baseball season.

“I don’t want to have to feel rushed to catch up to where I need to be,” Verlander told reporters at Detroit’s spring training camp in Florida on Monday.

The U.S. team begins play in the WBC on March 8 and the Tigers open their MLB campaign on April 1.

The hard-throwing right-hander decided he needed to give his arm a rest after throwing 266 innings last year following a 271-inning season in 2011.

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