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Padres' Martinez replaces Dodgers' Kershaw on USA's World Baseball Classic roster

San Diego Padres pitcher Nick Martinez, who pitched at the 2020 Summer Games, will join Team USA at the World Baseball Classic. Photo courtesy of WBSC
1 of 6 | San Diego Padres pitcher Nick Martinez, who pitched at the 2020 Summer Games, will join Team USA at the World Baseball Classic. Photo courtesy of WBSC

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- San Diego Padres pitcher Nick Martinez will replace Los Angeles Dodgers star Clayton Kershaw on the Team USA 2023 World Baseball Classic roster, MLB announced.

Martinez, who was part of a designated pitchers pool, was listed on MLB's roster for Team USA on Monday morning. Kershaw told reporters Friday that he withdrew from the competition, but did not provide a reason for his departure.

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Sources told The Athletic, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times that Kershaw withdrew from the tournament because he couldn't secure an insurance policy due to his history of back injuries.

The 2023 World Baseball Classic will be held from March 8 to 21 in Phoenix, Miami, Japan and Taiwan.

Martinez, 32, logged a 3.47 ERA and 4-4 record in 47 appearances last season for the Padres. He owns a 4.50 ERA and 21-34 record in 135 appearances over five MLB seasons.

Martinez also spent time in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan. He helped Team USA win a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

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Kershaw, 34, went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 22 starts last season for the Dodgers. The nine-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 National League MVP has a career 2.48 ERA, the best among active starting pitchers, over 15 MLB seasons.

Team USA will play the San Francisco Giants in an exhibition game March 8 in Scottsdale, Ariz. They will take on Great Britain in their World Baseball Classic opener March 11 at Chase Field in Phoenix.

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