Baseball legend Wang Chien-ming (王建民) on Monday issued a statement saying he would not be available to play for Taiwan in the Premier 12 World Championship, as he would not be in top physical condition when the competition begins next month.
“My body showed signs of weariness after all the traveling in the [Major League Baseball] season,” Wang said.
“I know that I would not be able to regain full fitness for the game in November,” the pitcher said.
“It is for this reason that I have decided not to join the Chinese Taipei Baseball Team in competing in Premiere 12,” referring to the name Taiwan usually competes under in international sports.
Wang, who now pitches for a Triple-A minor-league team that is a feeder for the Seattle Mariners, rose to stardom after leading the 2006 and 2007 US Major League seasons by winning 19 games for the New York Yankees.
A foot injury sustained in 2008 cost him the entire 2010 season. He subsequently played for different MLB teams, but found limited success compared with his earlier performance levels.
In 2013, his pitching in the World Baseball Classic helped Taiwan beat Australia.
Organized by the World Baseball and Softball Confederation, the Premier 12 is a new flagship professional baseball championship, featuring national teams from the 12 highest-ranked baseball nations.
The first tournament is to be held in Taiwan next month.
Apart from Wang, three other current or former MLB pitchers that the national team management intended to draft have turned down the opportunity to play.
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Chen Wei-yin (陳偉殷), the Uni-President Lions’ Kuo Hong-chih (郭泓志) and Chicago Cubs pitcher Tseng Jen-ho (曾仁和) all turned down approaches.
Lamigo Monkeys pitcher Wang Yi-cheng (王溢正) and hitter Wang Po-jung (王柏融), Chinatrust Brothers reliever Hsieh Rong-hao (謝榮豪) and Lions pitcher Wang Ching-ming (王鏡銘) have been called up.
The final roster of 28 players for Taiwan is to be unveiled on Oct. 10.
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