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A's Figueroa to represent Dominican in Classic

OAKLAND -- The World Baseball Classic will feature just one A's player this year, as lefty Pedro Figueroa was revealed as Oakland's lone participant in the event on Thursday.

Figueroa, 27, will represent the Dominican Republic alongside a star-studded cast of peers that includes Adrian Beltre, Robinson Cano and Jose Reyes, among others. The reliever is one of 11 pitchers on the provisional roster.

The hard-throwing Figueroa, expected to be a key component in Oakland's bullpen over the next few years, made 19 appearances for the A's in 2012, compiling a 3.32 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings as a rookie.

The Dominican Republic is in the Puerto Rico bracket with Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Spain, and it opens against Venezuela at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on March 7.

Oakland pitchers Grant Balfour and Travis Blackley were considered possibilities for Australia's roster, but they will not participate in the Classic.

Oakland Athletics, Pedro Figueroa