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Hernandez to join USA for Classic instead of Mexico

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs reliever David Hernandez will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic rather than Team Mexico as originally planned.

Hernandez was ruled ineligible to play for Mexico because his grandparents were not born in Mexico. Hernandez's great-grandparents were born there, but that is not enough for eligibility.

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Hernandez was informed of his ineligibility Saturday, and at the same time he was offered a spot on the U.S. team that opened when Indians closer Chris Perez was scratched due to a strained right shoulder.

"It's really disappointing," Hernandez said. "I was really looking forward to pitching with Team Mexico, but it's definitely a great honor to pitch on the USA team because it's where I was born, raised and grew up."

Hernandez has been a consistent setup man for the D-backs over the past two seasons, pitching mainly the eighth inning while also filling in for closer J.J. Putz. The 27-year-old has appeared in 146 games since 2011 and has compiled a 2.94 ERA.

"I was definitely looking forward to pitching against Team USA because they have a really talented roster," Hernandez said. "But I'm just glad those guys are on my side now. I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully we can win it. That's the ultimate goal."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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