Baseball: Verlander says no to World Classic

Major League Baseball right-handed ace pitcher Justin Verlander said Monday that he has turned down an offer to join the United States team at next month's World Baseball Classic.

Verlander, the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Award winner as best pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, said he did not feel his arm would be ready for competition in early March when the US team begins play.

"I don't want to have to feel rushed to catch up to where I need to be," Verlander said.

Verlander threw 266 innings last season, including a playoff run that saw the Tigers reach the World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants.

That heavy workload prompted Verlander to delay the start of his off-season arm training in order to allow for proper rest.

Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez was added to the US roster last weekend but the Americans still seek a top pitcher after the withdrawal of Atlanta's Kris Medlen.

The Classic, a 16-team event that begins March 2 in Japan and Taiwan, features top major league players and global talent from around the world playing for their homelands. Japan won the first two editions of the event.