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01/26/2013 8:22 PM ET

Harper declined to play in World Baseball Classic

WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was asked to play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but turned it down because he wanted to get back into the swing of things during Spring Training.

"It's the first Spring Training I can really be with the big league club," Harper said. "Hopefully, in four years, I will do the WBC then."

Harper was with the big league club during Spring Training the last two years, but was sent down before the end of camp both times. He was promoted to big league club in April of last year, played mostly center field and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.