Health concerns prompt Hudson to bag Classic

Atlanta Braves right-hander Tim Hudson will not play in the World Baseball Classic because of health concerns, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.

Hudson, who spent a month on the disabled list last season with a strained muscle in his left side, told the newspaper he doesn't want to rush his throwing program by getting ready for WBC games in March.

Hudson is the second Braves pitcher to withdraw from the tournament. John Smoltz backed out two weeks ago, also citing concerns about the possible effect of preparing for and pitching in the tournament.

"It's an honor to represent your country, but as a pitcher it's harder to be where you need to be that early in March. I have to put what's best for my team first.," Hudson told the newspaper. "I'm not 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule, like I should be if I was going to [the WBC]. . . . Nobody would have felt worse than me if I'd gone out and gotten hurt in the WBC and not been ready for the season."

Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and outfielder Jeff Francoeur remain on the preliminary U.S. roster.