Report: Iguchi, Buehrle to skip Baseball Classic

Updated: January 8, 2006, 8:33 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

TOKYO -- Chicago White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi has withdrawn from the Japanese squad for the World Baseball Classic, a news agency reported Saturday.

Iguchi said he wants to focus on his play as he enters his second year in the majors.

"Unfortunately, I've decided to withdraw from the squad," Iguchi said while training in Japan's southernmost island of Okinawa, Kyodo News agency reported.

"This is the second year of my two-year contract with the White Sox. The team expects more from me than in the first year, so I would have to be in spring training."

Iguchi said he had informed Japanese team manager Sadaharu Oh of his decision.

Left-hander Mark Buehrle informed U.S. manager Buck Martinez he won't be on the roster, either.

"I turned down to play in the World Baseball Classic," Buehrle told WSCR-AM on Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The main reason is that I want to be ready for the season, and I don't want to cheat our fans and my teammates.

"With me going into the Classic, I'm taking a chance of getting hurt. It's such an honor to even be asked to go play there, and that's why I really thought about it a lot. But I talked to Buck Martinez the other day, and told him I'm going to have to turn it down this year."

Iguchi's reported withdrawal follows New York Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui's decision in late December not to join Japan's squad at the 16-nation games.

Japan will be home for the first round of the tournament, March 3-5 at the Tokyo Dome. Japan is part of Group A, with South Korea, China and Taiwan.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.