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Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta, recovering from COVID, won’t play for Canada in World Baseball Classic

Red Sox pitcher Nick Pivetta tossed a football before a spring training workout last week.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nick Pivetta won’t play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. The Red Sox righthander contracted COVID-19 prior to spring training and is still feeling symptoms, including fatigue. Pivetta came to his decision following a bullpen session a couple of days prior to Wednesday’s announcement.

“It was a really difficult decision,” said Pivetta, who played for Team Canada in the WBC in 2017. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been recovering the way I would like to.

“The team and I came to an agreement and understanding that I have to focus on what I need to do here for this team. I take great pride in playing for that team and playing for my country.”


The expectation is that Pivetta will be ready for the start of the season. He is still going through bullpen sessions as the Sox build him up steadily. The next step will be an up-and-down Saturday.

This was the third time Pivetta contracted COVID, and this one hit him the hardest, he said. The lingering impact played into Pivetta’s decision to pull out of the tournament.

“Just the science behind having COVID, inflammation rates, guys getting injured after getting COVID,” he said. “I think all of those things are factors that I had to take into account.”

While it’s “unfortunate,” he said, that he won’t play in the WBC, he acknowledged the benefit of having an entire spring with the Red Sox.

Pivetta, seen here throwing in Fort Myers earlier this month, won't be headed to the WBC.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“It’s all good,” Pivetta said. “I’m focused on what I need to do for 2023 with the team. That’s where I can kind of push it in and that’s where I can put my focus and just forget about everything else.”

Keeping it light

Alex Verdugo said it was all fun and games. In a meeting Monday detailed by the Boston Herald, the Red Sox outfielder approached team owner John Henry, who was present for the first day of full-squad workouts, and asked for an extension. Verdugo acknowledged that it happened, but said it wasn’t a serious request. Instead, it was lighthearted in tone. “It was all joking,” Verdugo said. “It was all joking. It was all joking. If they want to, they want to. A lot of people are scared of ownership. I like to keep it light, keep it fun and mess around. That’s really it about that.”


Working on timing

While many players were on the back fields for live batting practice, Kenley Jansen was on the mound at JetBlue Park utilizing the pitch clock. Jansen, a slow worker on the mound, is using the beginning of spring training to get accustomed to the clock, which will be implemented this season in an effort to move the game along quicker. “Hitters are used to him being slow,” manager Alex Cora said. “He was really good with it. He got some feedback from the hitters about it. His stuff is legit.” … Mike Hill, MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations, was in Fort Myers and met with the Red Sox front office/coaching staff regarding the new rules … Both Bobby Dalbec and Triston Casas will play Saturday and Sunday. Dalbec will play first and third. The two also will make the trip to play the Astros and Marlins next week … The Sox announced that Brad Pearson has been promoted to vice president of sports medicine and performance after serving as director of sports medicine since 2016 and head athletic trainer since 2015. Brandon Henry has been promoted to head athletic trainer. Henry was associate head athletic trainer since 2021 … The Sox promoted Paul Toboni to vice president of amateur scouting and player development. His three previous seasons were spent as director of amateur scouting.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him @byJulianMack.