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Reds block Cueto from pitching in WBC

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) - The Cincinnati Reds have blocked ace Johnny Cueto from pitching for the Dominican Republic in next month's World Baseball Classic.

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Cueto strained his right oblique eight pitches into last October's division series against San Francisco. Because he finished the year with an injury, the Reds had the right to block him from playing in the WBC.

``I wanted to pitch for the Dominican but the team said no. It's all right,'' Cueto said Thursday. ``I am going to work to get ready for the season. I was ready to pitch. I'm 100 percent.''

Cueto was 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA in 33 starts during the regular season

``I'm not sure happy is the right word. I'm more relieved.'' manager Dusty Baker said. ``I understand the pressure for the Latin player to pitch for their country. If he was a 10-game winner instead of a 19-game winner, there wouldn't be as much pressure.''

The Dominican Republic is in Group C with Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela.

``I will be watching the Classic and rooting for the Dominican,'' Cueto said.

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