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Gomez, Bucci withdraw from World Baseball Classic

PHOENIX -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez told Brewers officials that he would pass on playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, and pitching prospect Nick Bucci withdrew from Team Canada because of a minor shoulder issue, dropping to 13 Milwaukee's Major League-leading contingent to the tournament.

Gomez informed Brewers manager Ron Roenicke of his decision upon reporting to camp. After setting career highs in 2012 with 19 home runs and 37 stolen bases, he will focus instead on the Brewers and his final season before free agency.

"You know, he's got a lot of energy, and he wants to help us play," Roenicke said. "It's a big year for him, what he does this year. That was part of the reason."

Bucci, meanwhile, withdrew from Team Canada after his pre-camp physical exam revealed what he called a minor shoulder injury. Bucci characterized his decision to skip the tournament as precautionary.

"Definitely, my passion is with Team Canada, but honestly, having it nipped now is the best thing for me so I can start the season healthy and go from there," the 22-year-old said.

Bucci said he felt similar aggravation in his shoulder at this time last year, and he eventually developed a lat injury that delayed his debut until July 18.

He was not sure when he would be cleared to return to the mound.

"It's starting to progress; we're just taking it day by day now," Bucci said. "Being shut down for five days now is better than the season."

Bucci did not crack's list of the Top 20 Brewers prospects, but he is considered one of the team's promising young pitchers. Drafted in the 18th round in 2008, he already has parts of five Minor League seasons under his belt (with a 3.76 ERA) but will not turn 23 until July 16. He had a 1.90 ERA in 10 appearances during his abbreviated 2012 regular season.