Team USA officials asked Cole Hamels to pitch in the World Baseball Classic this spring.

He politely declined.

He’s saving his bullets for the fight for the National League East crown and battles beyond.

“I don’t think it’s the smartest thing for pitchers to do,” Hamels said of the WBC. “You don’t see any of the big-time guys there.

“Ultimately our goal is to win a World Series, not the WBC.”

Hamels began his quest to win the 2013 World Series with two shutout innings against Houston in the Grapefruit League opener Saturday at Bright House Field. The lefthander, who turned 29 in December, allowed one hit and struck out a batter. He said he felt good physically.

Hamels signed the richest contract in Philadelphia sports history last summer -- six years, $144 million. The Phillies’ pitching staff is now his to lead. So said none other than Roy Halladay, who has two Cy Young Awards and 10 opening-day starts on his resume. Earlier this week, Halladay endorsed Hamels for this year’s opening-day start.