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Baker unenthused about Cueto playing in Classic


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Reds ace Johnny Cueto said Tuesday he would like to pitch for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

On Wednesday, Reds manager Dusty Baker wasn't too enthusiastic about the idea.

"Not especially," Baker said. "I can understand the pressures that come from pitching and being from Latin America. There is more national pride than anybody I've almost seen."

Cueto was not listed on the provisional Classic roster submitted by the Dominicans last month. He is coming off a strained right oblique injury suffered during the playoffs, but says he's been pain free the entire off-season.

In 2009, when Cueto and then-teammate Edinson Volquez pitched in the Classic for the Dominican, both players spent time on the disabled list. Cueto suffered inflammation in his right shoulder in August while Volquez suffered a torn elbow ligament and needed Tommy John surgery.

However, Baker understands why pitchers like Cueto want to represent their country.

"You see how big the Caribbean Series for bragging rights is in Latin America, where they think it could be where the best overall baseball is played," Baker said. "I've played in Mexico, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, so I know the pressures that come from being there. All I know is the last time they played was the year Volquez and Cueto both came up hurt."

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