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MLB roundup: Verlander reportedly considering WBC role

The SportsXchange

The U.S. team for the World Baseball Classic might be exchanging one of the best pitchers from the last decade for one of the best pitchers of the current decade.

New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte bowed out, and according to CBSSports.com, Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander "would love to be on the team."

Verlander is expected to make a decision by Feb. 20. The final decision is based on how Verlander progresses during the early portion of spring training. The decision will be Verlander's and not the Tigers.

If he does join the U.S. team, Verlander would join a rotation that includes R.A. Dickey, Derek Holland and Ryan Volgelsong.

Jake Peavy is also believed to be a candidate to join the team.

--The Yankees reportedly have been talking to former Indians slugger Travis Hafner about joining them as a designated hitter.

Hafner, who has hit 201 home runs in 11 seasons, would replace Raul Ibanez, who left the Bronx for Seattle.

The 35-year-old veteran has battled injuries the past five seasons in Cleveland, averaging 86 games per year. Last year he batted .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBI in 64 games for the Indians.

Cleveland released Hafner in October, paying a $2.75 million buyout instead of a $13 million option.

--The Los Angeles Angels have hired Omar Vizquel, one of the game's great defensive shortstops, as a roving infield instructor.

After 24 major league seasons, Vizquel retired last year at age 45. He spent the 2012 season as a reserve infielder for the Toronto Blue Jays. Vizquel will join the Angels for spring training in mid-February in Tempe, Ariz., working first with the major leaguers and then the minor league infielders.

He replaces Dick Schofield, whose contract wasn't renewed by the Angels. Vizquel will work with former Angels infielder Bobby Knoop.

--Gary Tuck has resigned as Boston Red Sox's bullpen coach for personal reasons.

Tuck, the only member of the previous coaching staff to remain from last season after former manager Bobby Valentine's departure, also was the team's catching instructor.

The 58-year-old Tuck also had taken a leave of absence last year, citing personal reasons.

As for Valentine, he's a candidate to be the athletic director at Sacred Heart University, the Connecticut Post reported.

According to the report, Valentine visited the Sacred Heart campus in Fairfield, Conn., about two weeks ago and is among several contenders who want to replace retiring athletic director Don Cook.

--Corner infielder Andy LaRoche has signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays that includes an invitation to spring training.

LaRoche, 29, plays both first base and third base and has not played in the major leagues since 2011, when he hit .247 with no homers in 40 games for the Oakland A's.
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