Cano won't play in Classic; Pettitte uncertain

Updated: February 1, 2006, 12:39 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano won't play in the World Baseball Classic, according to published reports.

Second Base
New York Yankees

132 14 62 78 .320 .297

Cano, who was on the Dominican Republic's provisional roster, wants to focus on preparing for the major league season.

"I want to win a World Series, so I'm going down to spring training and get ready for the season," Cano told reporters Tuesday night at a ceremony in Manhattan where he received the Thurman Munson Award for charity work.

Shortstop Derek Jeter remains set to play.

The Yankees' captain has been taking part in pre-spring training workouts at the New York's minor league complex. He took batting practice and grounders with teammate Miguel Cairo on Wednesday.

"It's an opportunity to try and expand the game globally," Jeter said. "I think there's going to be a lot of interest, especially in some of the countries that haven't come over to play before. I think it's great for the game."

Cano, who hit .297 with 14 home runs and 62 RBI as a rookie, said he already notified the Yankees of his withdrawal from the 16-nation tournament which takes place March 3-20. He planned to make it official when he returned to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

Another factor in Cano's decision was the fact that the Dominican team also has Alfonso Soriano and Luis Castillo to play second base.

"I'm going to be on the bench," Cano said. "I'm not going to play. They're going to use me once in a while. I want to get a world championship, and if I go there, I'm going to be sitting for games. I want to get ready for the season."

Starting Pitcher
Houston Astros

33 17 9 41 171 2.39

Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte, also honored at the dinner, was also leaning toward not playing. The left-hander, who went 17-9 with a 2.39 ERA last season after an injury-filled 2004, is on the United States' provisional roster.

"When I get down to spring training, I'll see how I feel," Pettitte said. "But since I'm starting late this year, it probably wouldn't be real smart for me to do that. Obviously, I'm obligated to the Astros."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press