NEW YORK Yankees relief pitcher Clay Rapada has declined an invitation to play for the Philippines in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Taiwan next month.
Philippine Amateur Baseball Association secretary-general Thomas Navasero said that Rapada recently expressed his decision not to play for the Philippines in the November 15-18 tilt in New Taipei City.
“We were permitted to invite him," said Navasero of the 31-year-old, a veteran of five teams in the major leagues. "He just told us recently that he has personal issues and he regrets not joining the team.”
Rapada, whose father is a full-blooded Filipino from Cabangan, Zambales, pitched 70 games for the Yankees this year with a record of 3-0 win-loss. He had an earned run average of 2.82, and had 38 strikeouts in 38.1 innings of play.
Rapada also saw action for the Yankees during the postseason where they lost via sweep to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Championship Series.
Before joining the Yankees, the sidearm-throwing six-year veteran also had stints with the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles.
Navasero said that they are still eyeing San Francisco Giants relief pitcher and Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum to play for the Philippines, which have acquired several minor and major league players with Filipino lineage for the qualifiers that will also feature Chinese Taipei, Thailand, and New Zealand.