Marmol opts to skip Classic for D.R.

Marmol opts to skip Classic for D.R.

MESA, Ariz. -- Carlos Marmol said Monday he is not going to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, and will stay with the Cubs this spring.

"I'm not going," Marmol said after his workout Monday. "I want to stay here and work with Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] and stay with the team. It's hard to say no."

Cubs manager Lou Piniella talked to Marmol in the outfield and left the decision up to the right-hander.

"I told him it's an honor to represent your country, but I told him we'd support him either way," Piniella said. "My posture is to stay out of it as much as possible."

"He told me if I want to go, go, because nothing will happen," said Marmol, who is competing with Kevin Gregg for the closer's job on the Cubs.

"I know what I have to do to keep my body ready for the season and my arm and my mind," Marmol said. "That's what I need to do. I'm not worried about the competition."

The Cubs were going to get Marmol into at least two Cactus League games before the pitcher had to leave to join the Dominican team to prepare for the World Baseball Classic. Now, those plans could change. Piniella said Marmol wasn't as sharp control-wise on Monday against hitters as he has been in the past. He may get more side work before getting into a game.

With Marmol's decision, the Cubs now will have Ted Lilly (U.S. team), Kosuke Fukudome (Japan), Vince Perkins (Canada) and Geovany Soto (Puerto Rico) competing in the World Baseball Classic.

Marmol admitted he couldn't sleep Sunday night, trying to make a decision.

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"It was hard to say no," he said. "I'd prefer to stay here and work with my teammates and the team. For me, it's hard because it would've been my first time to go there. It's kind of sad."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.