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Report: A-Rod to play for U.S. in Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon of the New York Yankees are on the United States roster for the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Alex Rodriguez may be joining them.

The New York Times reported that Rodriguez, the 2005
American League Most Valuable Player, is expected to announce this week that he will play for the U.S. in the 16-team event in March.

Rodriguez withdrew from the event last month because he couldn't
decide whether to play for the U.S. or the Dominican Republic
and didn't want to insult the one he didn't choose.

Because Rodriguez was born in New York and raised in Miami, he is eligible to play for the U.S. Because his parents are
from the Dominican Republic, the slugging third baseman also is eligible to play for his parents' homeland.

Players from all 30 major league teams are expected to play in
the WBC. About 200 players already have committed to
participate.

Two other Yankees, outfielder Bernie Williams for Puerto Rico and second baseman Robinson Cano for the Dominican Republic, are expected to play.

Yankees outfielder Hideki Matsui has decided not to play
for Japan.

The 16 teams will be divided into four pools and feature
round-robin play in each of the first two rounds. Japan will
host the opening round in Pool A, which also includes Korea,
China and Chinese Taipei, from March 3-6.

The top two finishers will travel to the U.S. for the second
round to face the qualifiers from Pool B, which includes Team
USA, beginning March 13.

The top two teams from each second-round pool advance to the
single-elimination semifinals and finals, which will be held at
Petco Park in San Diego from March 18-20.

The WBC will be held again in 2009 and every four years
thereafter.