A-Rod finally decides to play for the USA

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

NEW YORK -- A-Rod plans to play for the USA.

His allegiance torn between the Dominican Republic and United States, Alex Rodriguez finally made up his mind Tuesday night and decided he will participate in the World Baseball Classic as a member of the U.S. team.

"In recent weeks, following dialogue with caring friends and players, both Dominican and American, I reached the conclusion that if I played in the Classic, I would play for the United States and honor my American citizenship," Rodriguez said in a statement on his Web site.

"I appreciate the support and understanding of my fellow Dominican players and friends who aided me in making this decision."

Rodriguez vacillated until the very end. After speaking with the New York Yankees third baseman earlier Tuesday, players' association chief operating officer Gene Orza thought the two-time MVP was leaning toward not playing at all.

Later in the day, Rodriguez made his decision to participate, according to agent Scott Boras.

"The guy is one of the best players on the planet. He's finally made up his mind on a very difficult decision. If he wants to play for the U.S., we're definitely glad to have him," U.S. general manager Bob Watson said.

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