Now Commenting On:

Mesa decides to forgo World Baseball Classic


TAMPA, Fla. -- Sensing a chance to crack the Opening Day outfield, prospect Melky Mesa has declined to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

Bench coach Tony Pena, who is also managing the Dominican Republic squad in the tournament, said on Saturday that Mesa is passing on his chance to play with hopes of securing a big league job.

The Yankees are evaluating their outfield choices with Curtis Granderson expected to be sidelined until May. Mesa is considered the best defensive option of a mix that includes Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera, Zoilo Almonte and Ronnier Mustelier.

"It's a decision that he has to make, and he wants to be seen more. I respect that," manager Joe Girardi said. "I told him, 'Whatever you do, I'll respect what you do. If you want to play, you go play. If you want to play here, you play here.'"

Six Yankees are participating in the Classic. Second baseman Robinson Cano and left-hander Juan Cedeno will play for the Dominican Republic, infielder Walter Ibarra and Gil Velazquez will play for Mexico, first baseman Mark Teixeira will play for Team USA and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte will play for Italy.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español