Team Tigers? Or Team USA. Justin Verlander couldn't do both. He had to choose — and he's chosen. "I am not going to play in the World Baseball Classic," Verlander said Monday after arriving at Joker Marchant Stadium, fresh from playing in the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach in California. Verlander won't play in the WBC because, between the Tigers' World Series appearance and an early reporting date for camp, the offseason was too short for him to be where he felt he needs to be in his preparation for the 2013 season. "I'm a little behind, but I figured I would be," he said. "And I don't want to feel rushed to catch up. I want to be able to do it the right way. "I really wanted to pitch in it, but it's not the right year for it. If we hadn't gone to the playoffs, it wouldn't be a problem at all." Verlander had left the door open about pitching in the WBC, but without bumping his program to an earlier start, he realized by the time he reported for spring training it just wasn't going to work. "I wanted to give it a shot, but I know where I'm at now — and as I've already said, I don't want to have to catch up. First and foremost, I want to be available for this team," he said. "I liked the idea of pitching for Team USA. I got to play on a national team when I was in college and it was one of the best experiences ever, so I'm pretty disappointed about that part of it. "Hopefully I'll get another chance." What convinced Verlander not to participate was the way he felt during a couple of throwing sessions before traveling to the golf tournament in Pebble Beach. That's when the Tigers ace realized he just wouldn't be ready in time for the WBC. Speaking of aces, Verlander nearly had one at Pebble Beach, once he settled down after a jittery first round while playing with pro Robert Garrigus. From The Detroit News: