Rich Harden Opts Out of WBC

With the Chicago Cubs not even sure they are going to have Rich Harden available to them on Opening Day this season because of his balky right shoulder, they couldn't have been very happy to see Harden's name among the prospective players for Canada's team in the World Baseball Classic this spring. After all, when he eventually ends up on the disabled list this season they want it to be thanks to an injury he suffered in a Cubs jersey in their futile bid to bring home a World Series title. Canada's futile attempt to win the WBC be damned.

So the team is probably pleased to hear the news that even though he really wants to, Rich has decided that he won't be joining his fellow Canadians this spring.

"I missed the last [2006] WBC because I was coming off surgery, and that just killed me to be in the stands watching," he was quoted as saying. "And this time it will be just as difficult to watch because I want to play and represent Canada.

"If I was 100 percent and it was a different year and different scenario, I would have jumped at the opportunity to play in the WBC. It's unfortunate, but it's not the decision I can make right now. In my heart I was hoping it would work out but in my head I had a feeling it wouldn't. I kind of knew the decision would be made for me by circumstance. It's very disappointing not to play for Canada but my No. 1 priority is the Cubs. I've just started to throw and [March] is too soon for me."

Does anybody know if Jason Bay can pitch? If not the Canucks are screwed.

The Cubs will now turn their attention to convincing Carlos Zambrano to skip the WBC as well, and considering that Big Z is planning on undergoing LASIK eye surgery before March, they may already have their excuse.

Rich Harden Opts Out of WBC originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Wed, 21 Jan 2009 12:07:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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