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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
No World Classic for Matt Harrison

By Richard Durrett

Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said he has declined an invitation to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

Harrison, 27, was 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts last season. That included 213⅓ innings, a career high.

He made his first All-Star squad and is in discussions with the Rangers about a long-term contract extension.

"It was truly an honor to be asked to be a part of a team that represents our country, but at the same time I didn't want to risk injury after throwing a career high in innings," Harrison texted Tuesday.

Harrison said he's focused on getting prepared for the season. That includes working on a slider, a pitch he hasn't used often.

"It's my fourth pitch right now and I want to get that better," Harrison said Friday at the Texas Rangers Fan Fest in Arlington. "I need to use my off-speed more to the arm side and make it a backdoor pitch to righties. It wasn't there consistently enough and I want to work on that this offseason and at spring training."