A-Rod says he'll sit out World Baseball Classic

NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez told the New York Yankees he won't play in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, just two days after saying he was leaning toward being on the Dominican Republic's team.

"He called me yesterday," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday.

Baseball officials said at last week's winter meetings that Rodriguez, who last month won his second AL MVP award, had agreed to play in tournament but had not decided whether he wanted to play for the United States or the Dominican Republic. The third baseman was born in New York, but his parents are Dominican.

"When faced with the decision to choose between my country, the United States of America, and my Dominican heritage, I decided I will not dishonor either," Rodriguez was quoted as saying in Friday's editions of the New York Post.

Gene Orza, chief operating officer of the players' association, hopes Rodriguez will change his mind.

"Alex has, and I'm sure continues, to agonize over this decision," Orza said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "I would not regard his statement yesterday as the final or definitive word. Alex is also devoted to the growth of baseball internationally, and is a fan of baseball in the Olympics. He realizes that the WBC serves both of those interests. We haven't spoken yet. We will. And having known and respected him since he was a drafted, my suspicion is that, in the end, fans around the world will see Alex in a WBC uniform."

Cashman also said the commissioner's office and the players' association had accepted the Yankees' petition to block catcher Jorge Posada from playing for Puerto Rico in the 16-team tournament. Cashman said the team also submitted other names to block, some of which were accepted, but did not identify the players involved.