A-Rod on Classic: 'I felt I needed to be there'
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez changed his mind and decided to play in the World Baseball Classic for the United States because of his status in the sport, The New York Times reported Friday.
"At the end of the day, I realized how important it was for me to play because of the position that I have in the game," the New York Yankees third baseman told the newspaper. "When I looked at that, I felt I needed to be there."
After initially saying he would play for the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez changed his mind last month and said he wouldn't play in the World Baseball Classic. On Tuesday night, he decided he would participate in the 16-team tournament, but as a member of the U.S. team.
"I know what kind of a crazy competitor I am," Rodriguez told the Times. "If I'm in Lakeland [Fla., the Yankees' spring training home] in March and my country is playing Japan in the semifinals in Arizona, I know I'd want to be there. I'm the best guy available to help the team."
Rodriguez's decision to play with the U.S. team miffed Stan Javier, the general manager for the Dominican team.
"It was pretty clear that he was going to play for the Dominican team," Javier told the newspaper. "He said he would announce it. Two days later, he said he wasn't playing at all."
Rodriguez said it was a tough decision, but one he is now comfortable with.
"No matter what I did, I was going to tick somebody off."
The final 30-man rosters for the World Baseball Classic will be chosen from each team's 60-player pools shortly before the start of the event, scheduled for March 3-20.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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World Baseball Classic
WHAT: A 16-team international tournament divided into four pools of four teams each
WHEN: March 3-20, 2006
WHERE: U.S., Puerto Rico, Japan
World Baseball Classic at a glance
|Dominican Republic||South Africa|
• Jan. 23: Bonds says he won't play
• Jan. 20: Cuba allowed in
• Jan. 18: Provisional rosters are announced
• Jan. 17: A-Rod plans to play for U.S.
• Jan. 16: U.S. names provisional roster
• Jan. 14: Canada names 23 to roster
• Jan. 14: Nomar to play for Mexico
• Jan. 11: Lasorda expects Cuba to play
• Jan. 10: Marlins' Cabrera to play for Venezuela
• Jan. 10: Smoltz not likely to pitch for U.S.
• Jan. 9: Italian team to train with Tigers
• Jan. 6: Report: Iguchi, Buehrle to skip WBC
• Jan. 6: IBAF threat: No Cuba, no Classic
• Jan. 4: Report: A-Rod to play for U.S.
• Dec. 28: Venezuela wants Cuba in Classic
• Dec. 27: Matsui won't play for Japan in March
• Dec. 23: Cuba offers to donate Classic money
• Dec. 22: MLB denies Cuban exiles
• Dec. 22: Astros assistant to manage Italy
• Dec. 15: A-Rod will sit out Classic
• Dec. 14: Treasury: Cuba can't send players
• Dec. 14: Matsui promises to decide soon
• Dec. 13: A-Rod leaning toward Dominican team
• Dec. 13: Griffey ready to play
• Dec. 11: Yankees deny Posada
• Dec. 3: Pedro, Tejada hope to play
• Dec. 3: Garcia pitching for Venezuela
• Dec. 2: Report: Castro says Cuba will play
• Nov. 30: Bonds to play for U.S.
• Nov. 28: Whitt to manage Canada
• Nov. 22: U.S., Canada to play exhibitions
• Nov. 14: Arizona to host WBC games
• Nov. 14: Livan Hernandez can play for PR
• Nov. 12: Dontrelle to hurl for U.S.
• Nov. 10: Delgado suiting up for PR
• Sept. 28: San Diego hosting WBC
• Sept. 16: Japan agrees to participate
• July 14: A-Rod to play for DR
• July 13: No WBC for Sheffield
• July 11: WBC groups unveiled