Disappointed Pivetta bows out of Classic

Canada to lose Red Sox righty, who is dealing with aftereffects of 3rd bout with COVID

February 22nd, 2023

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Calling it a “really difficult decision," Red Sox right-hander has decided not to pitch for Team Canada in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

Pivetta had COVID shortly before Spring Training, and he has been dealing with the aftereffects in the first week or so of camp.

“It’s a really difficult decision,” Pivetta said. “I got the opportunity to play for Team Canada from a very young age. And then I got to play for them in the [2017] WBC. That was really important for me. Unfortunately, I haven't been recovering the way I like to.”

Pivetta has been Boston’s most durable starter the last two seasons, not missing any turns in the rotation. He doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that durability in '23.

“As you guys know, he got sick a few days ago and his recovery has been slow. He has been able to do stuff, but not at the pace he was before,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “He feels like it was going to be a challenge to get there and perform the way he wants to and bounce back. Obviously, we talked to him a little bit about how we see things. Obviously, we respect his decision.”

“The team and I came to an [agreement] and an understanding that I have to focus here and [on] what I need to do here for this team now,” said Pivetta. “It's unfortunate. I take great pride in playing for that team and playing for that country. Best of luck to those guys.”

Earlier this week, Pivetta called Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt to alert him of the decision.

What has Pivetta been dealing with post-COVID?

“I think just, like, regular fatigue. I had the flu pretty bad. I had a lot of body aches,” Pivetta said. “Just the science behind having COVID, what’s gone on, inflammation rates, guys getting injured after having COVID. I think all of those things are factors for me and for the team as well.”

This was the third time Pivetta had COVID, and he said the symptoms were by far the worst this time around.

Despite his disappointment over not being able to pitch for his country, Pivetta is looking to turn a negative into a positive.

“It’s all good. 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 just put my focus on and forget about everything else,” Pivetta said.

The way Pivetta looks at it, he worked so hard to get ready for the WBC that he will have plenty of arm strength once the regular season starts, despite the COVID setback.

“I was getting ready for the WBC, so I ramped up right away, I was way ahead of schedule,” said Pivetta. “I was able to work on the things that I needed to work on, get some extra work so I was ahead of schedule, so it was actually kind of nice for a change. And now I’ll be able to rest a little bit more, so I think it will even stuff out. I think it was just overall strength and mechanical stuff.”

In 2022, Pivetta tied for the Major League lead with 33 starts. He was red-hot in May and June, but his starts were uneven down the stretch. Pivetta finished the season 10-12 with a 4.56 ERA, but he logged a career high in innings pitched with 179 2/3.

What is he hoping to accomplish in ’23?

“For me, I like to just focus on the team and not make it personal,” Pivetta said. “As long as I can help the team win, and we can be a winning team, I think positive things are going to come out of that instead of making it too big. Just focus on what I have to do here with the guys in this room.”