The American League Cy Young winner won't be representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
Lee, 30, pitched a career-high 223 1/3 innings for the Indians in 2008. He was 22-3 for an Indians team that finished 81-81. His 2.54 ERA was tops in the AL. Only the New York Mets' Johan Santana (2.53) had a better ERA among starting pitchers last season.
"Cliff gave it a lot of thought," Lee's agent, Darek Braunecker said, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "but he's coming off the biggest workload of his career. He wanted to stay on track. If, as anticipated, the Indians are a contender this year, he could pitch even more innings."
The U.S. team will begin play March 7 against Canada in Toronto. The semifinals and finals are set for Dodger Stadium March 21-23.