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PHOENIX -- The Oakland Athletics sole World Baseball Classic participant has had a change of heart. Pedro Figueroa will no longer compete for the Domincan Republic in baseball's international showcase.
Figueroa, a native of Santo Domingo, D.R. has decided to play it safe and stay in A's camp rather than forcing himself into more intense competition early. Figueroa is looking to earn a spot in the A's bullpen this season, and staying in camp could only help his cause.
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"I think he made the decision with his agent not to push himself this early in games that are truly going to have the meaning of playing for your country," pitching coach Curt Young said. "It's good he's going to be under our wing."
The A's can now monitor him on a daily basis and keep him on their schedule. While the team supports the decisions of its players as far as their desires to play in the WBC, they aren't necessarily disappointed that their players aren't going to be taking part in the games.
"If guys want to do it, you’re all for it," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You understand you don’t get to do this very often, so if you get an invite to do something like that, we would certainly support them. But, at this point, we don’t have anybody and that’s fine with us."
Figueroa, a lefty, appeared in 19 games and had a 3.32 ERA in 21 2/3 innings pitched. He walked 15 batters and struck out 14.