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January 16, 2013

Joe Nathan declines World Baseball Classic invite

Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan has declined an invitation to play for the United States in this year's World Baseball Classic. He had been considering it the past week, and decided against it.

"I respectfully declined," Nathan said in a text message Wednesday. "It was a huge honor to be asked and I feel good, but want to make sure I do right by the Rangers also."

Nathan, 38, posted a 2.80 ERA with 37 saves in 64 1/3 innings and made the American League All-Star team last year in his first season with the Rangers. Nathan, who missed the 2010 season following Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, signed a two-year deal worth $14.5 million prior to last season with a club option for 2014.

Nathan pitched for the U.S. in the inaugural WBC in 2006.

Rangers starter Matt Harrison also declined an invitation to pitch for the U.S.

The Rangers will be represented, though. Third baseman Adrian Beltre and outfielder Nelson Cruz intend to play for the Dominican Republic and shortstop Elvis Andrus with Venezuela. Minor league outfielder Engel Beltre (Spain) and catcher Kellin Deglan (Canada) are also slated to play in the WBC.

All WBC rosters will be announced on Thursday afternoon.

-- Drew Davison

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