Miguel Rojas plans to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic in order to focus on his new role as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting shortstop.
Rojas told reporters Thursday that his withdrawal from Team Venezuela was a mutual decision between himself and the Dodgers, who have named the 10-year veteran their primary replacement for the injured Gavin Lux.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking that I can’t go and participate with Venezuela,” Rojas stated, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The reason why is a new opportunity opened up for me — an opportunity to play every day at shortstop.”
Rojas told reporters he expects to get more at-bats this spring staying with the Dodgers than he would if he were to join Venezuela, for which he likely would have served a utility role.
Rojas kept open the possibility of him joining Venezuela later this month if they advance far in the WBC, but he ultimately thought remaining with the Dodgers was “what I need to do for my future and for the organization as well.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts stated Tuesday that Rojas would assume “the brunt” of the playing time at shortstop because of the injury to Lux, who will miss the entire 2023 season because of a torn ACL.
Rojas, 34, signed a one-year extension with the Dodgers last month after being traded to Los Angeles earlier this offseason by the Miami Marlins.
The World Baseball Classic starts Tuesday, and Venezuela’s first game is March 11 versus the Dominican Republic.