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Ayala decides not to play for Mexico in Classic


SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles reliever Luis Ayala has decided not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, opting to remain in Major League camp rather than accepting Team Mexico's invitation.

Ayala, who was in limbo when asked by reporters on Monday morning, informed pitching coach Rick Adair of his decision later in the day.

"It's got to be a tough decision," Adair said of Ayala, who has pitched for Team Mexico in the Classic. "You won the Caribbean Series [in winter ball], go through all that. Obviously he loves his country. But [for] whatever reasons he has decided not to, and I'm sure he's kind of gone back and forth on that."

Ayala went 5-5 with a 2.64 ERA over 75 innings pitched last year, and after pitching winter ball, the Orioles have been careful in slowing him down this spring. Having the 35-year-old stay in Spring Training is a plus for manager Buck Showalter and Adair, who can monitor his workload.

"We can have him simulate games, pitch in Minor League games and build him without the pressure of competition this early in the year," Adair said.

"It's a catch-22 because there's a lot of guys that -- I went through it myself -- you come back from winter ball, you pitched a lot of innings and it's how much time to take off, when to get ready, do you stop completely? Obviously he's not stopped completely, but we've got to stretch out the recovery time but still pitch. It's going to take a lot of input from Luis as to how he's feeling as to what we do."

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