Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers are working on a possible long-term contract extension. The last thing he needs is to risk injury unnecessarily. That means Harrison will not be playing in the World Baseball Classic. The 27-year old lefty was invited to play for Team USA, but he has declined.
Harrison said he was declining the invite because of the number of innings he pitched last season and the fact that he wants to focus on preparing for the 2013 season with the Rangers, says Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Joe Torre, manager for Team USA, reached out to Harrison, but was not able to persuade him to pitch in the WBC this time around.
"I decided to respectfully decline due to the number of innings I threw last year,” Harrison said in a text Monday. “It’s a true honor and very humbling to be asked. Hopefully, I get the opportunity again.”
Harrison was arguably the Rangers' best pitcher last season. He was certainly the most durable and consistent. He pitched 213 1/3 innings and went 18-11 on the season. He also posted a 3.29 ERA. It was Harrison's second-consecutive sub-4.00 ERA. In 2011, he posted a 3.39 ERA.
The Rangers are hoping to lock Harrison up with a long-term deal. He is currently arbitration-eligible and has filed for arbitration like many other players across the league. The Rangers can still avoid arbitration with Harrison if they can work out a deal before the hearing.
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