Team USA has assembled a solid collection of arms for the World Baseball Classic.
But one hurler who would have been a shoo-in for the roster is missing: Justin Verlander.
The future Hall of Fame ace had an incredible comeback in 2022, winning the American League Cy Young after missing the previous campaign as he rehabbed Tommy John surgery. Now, he’s off to the Mets where he’s expected to anchor the top of the rotation alongside Max Scherzer.
Verlander finished last season healthy, but with a lot of mileage on his arm after pitching 195 innings across the regular season and playoffs. So when Team USA manager Mark DeRosa called and asked if Verlander would be interested in the WBC, he declined.
“We reached out to Justin Verlander personally,” DeRosa said on “The Show: A NY Post Baseball Podcast.” “He was like, ‘Mark, I’m coming off of Tommy John, I just pitched deep into the World Series, it would be asking my body an awful lot to ramp up this quick.’ So, there are some guys where you totally understood why they didn’t want to do it.”
Verlander has declined invitations to the WBC in the past, oftentimes citing health as the reason. That’s of even bigger importance for Verlander as he prepares for his age-40 season, and certainly the Mets must be thrilled that he is prioritizing his MLB season over the WBC.