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Rich Harden to miss baseball classic

CHICAGO, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- Chicago Cubs right-hander Rich Harden will miss the World Baseball Classic because of a less than healthy right shoulder, MLB.com reported late Thursday.

Harden had hoped to pitch for Team Canada, and was included on its roster earlier this week despite concerns about the balky shoulder.

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He told his hometown newspaper, the Victoria (British Columbia) Times Colonist on Monday that his inclusion may have been purely ceremonial.

"If I was 100 percent, and it was a different year and different scenario, I would have jumped at the opportunity to play," Harden told the newspaper. "It's unfortunate, but it's not the decision I can make right now. In my heart I was hoping it would work out, but in my head I had a feeling it wouldn't."

Harden, an ace on the Cubs' staff, also missed the inaugural Classic in 2006 because of injury.

Team Canada plays first-round games in Toronto against a pool of teams, including the U.S., Venezuela and Italy.

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