In a widely expected decision, general manager Sandy Alderson announced Monday that the Mets would not grant Johan Santana permission to pitch for Venezuela in next month’s World Baseball Classic.

Under the rules of the WBC, Santana is not actually eligible to participate, because he finished last season on the disabled list, although the Mets could have applied for a waiver on his behalf.

“He wants to play,” Alderson said. “We know that, and we would like him to be able to pitch, but under the circumstances, we don’t think it’s in his best interest or ours.

“My experience with the WBC is that the conditioning schedule is accelerated. The pitching schedule can be altered and overall it’s a very different experience.”

Santana, while disappointed, said he was comfortable with the decision.

“That’s something I really wanted to do, represent my country,” he said. “I feel bad about it. At the same time, I understand everything that they’re saying and they’re doing, and there is not much I can do about it.”

Asked if intense competition in early March presented an injury risk for pitchers, he said, “It can be. You never know. ... When I played my first year in 2006, it was fine. It was great,and I had a great season. But at the same time everybody is different, so you never know. It’s a short period of time to get ready, no question about it.”