PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The New York Mets have informed left-hander Johan Santana that the organization prefers he not participate in the World Baseball Classic. As a result, the two-time Cy Young Award winner is unlikely to represent his native Venezuela in next month's tournament, he told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday.
"I would love to play, but I don't think they want me to," Santana said. "They might make it official. I don't know. ... As of right now, I don't think the chances are very high."
Santana said he very much wanted to represent Venezuela, as he did in the inaugural WBC in 2006. He was especially eager after ending last season on the disabled list, he added.
Yet Santana, 33, also understands the Mets have $31 million invested in him for this season, including a buyout of his vesting option for 2014. And with Santana less than two years removed from major shoulder surgery and having ended last season on the disabled list, it clearly is most prudent for the Mets not to have Santana pitch in the WBC.
The Mets have veto power over his participation.
Santana technically is ineligible right now anyway, because a WBC committee first would have to agree to insure his contract.
Final WBC rosters must be submitted by Wednesday. Venezuela opens play March 7 against the Dominican Republic in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Santana expects to get on a mound Sunday at Mets camp for the first time since his August shutdown. He officially ended last season on the DL with lower-back inflammation after allowing six or more earned runs in each of his final five starts.
"I would love to play and represent my country," Santana said. "You don't have that many chances to do it -- and in such an important tournament. It's tough. That's something you wait for. But there's a lot of things involved in order for me to go. But I understand everything with the team, and everything we have to do in order for me to be eligible to go. They want me ready for the season. I told them, 'Listen, I'm not going to go against what you guys are saying.' "
General manager Sandy Alderson says he has concerns about Santana participating in the WBC.
"It's a complicated situation, just because of his injury and the fact that he did not pitch at the end of last season," Alderson said. "As a result, he has to go through a physical and a [WBC] review panel [on insurance]. But ultimately, he needs our permission to play. ... We're very concerned that he'd be ready to go and healthy for us. And so there are reasons why players in his situation [injury-wise] at the end of a previous season typically don't play in the WBC."