|Yu Darvish's decision to skip the WBC is a blow to Japan's hopes. (US Presswire)|
Rangers ace Yu Darvish will pass up the chance to repeat his World Baseball Classic exploits, as he's opted to sit out the upcoming tournament. Darvish released the following statement through his agents:
After much deliberation, which has included a lot of consultation with my coaches and
trainers, I have decided that I will not play in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. This was a very difficult decision for me as it is always a tremendous honor to represent my native country of Japan. I greatly enjoyed being a part of the 2009 Championship ballclub and I will be supporting this year's team as they look to defend their title. There are many very talented players in Japan and I am confident this team will uphold Japan's great tradition in this event.
In a subsequent statement, the Rangers announced that they "support what had to be a very difficult decision for him [Darvish] to make."
The 26-year-old right-hander is coming off a rookie season in which he posted an ERA of 3.90 in 191 1/3 innings pitched and ranked fifth in the AL in strikeouts. In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, which Japan eventually won, Darvish was impressive as a starter and reliever.
The main tournament of the 2013 World Baseball Classic begins in March.