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Clippard goes into Classic with momentum

USA's reliever says tournament is baseball's Olympics
Special MLB.com

TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Tyler Clippard gave up a single to Alen Hanson and struck out a batter in another scoreless outing for the Yankees on Sunday during their 3-2 win over the Pirates.

Hanson's single was the first blemish to an otherwise perfect spring as Clippard has a 0.00 ERA with four strikeouts in three appearances.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Tyler Clippard gave up a single to Alen Hanson and struck out a batter in another scoreless outing for the Yankees on Sunday during their 3-2 win over the Pirates.

Hanson's single was the first blemish to an otherwise perfect spring as Clippard has a 0.00 ERA with four strikeouts in three appearances.

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"I feel pretty good on the mound right now," Clippard said. "Got some runners on bases so that was good to pitch out of the stretch a little bit."

Now Clippard will head to Fort Myers, Fla., to join Team USA in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Team USA will open pool play against Colombia at Marlins Park in Miami on Friday.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

Clippard said participating in the Classic will give him and other players an "opportunity to do something bigger than ourselves" and enjoy the rare opportunity to represent their respective nations.

"Baseball is kind of my only opportunity to do something for my country," Clippard said. "I'm not in the military. We don't get the Olympics, so this is like our Olympics. I get to put on the USA jersey for the first time in my career, and I'm looking forward to it."

Clippard, 32, admits that getting into some more intense situations in front of large, sold-out crowds could be a good change from the norm as he prepares for the upcoming season.

"Spring Training, at times, can become a little bit monotonous, and sometimes your focus isn't what it should be because of that," Clippard said. "So to get into those meaningful games with a different atmosphere and sold-out crowds and all the excitement, it's going to be good for me."

Clippard is trying to get into the competitive mode already and is even enjoying a little trash talk with teammate Dellin Betances, who will be playing for the Dominican Republic.

"It's mostly me, he's kept it pretty low key," Clippard said. "I'm just trying to rattle his cage a little but it's all in good fun. Just what friends do to each other."

Team USA's pitching staff features Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, a 20-game winner from 2016, and Rays right-hander Chris Archer along with a strong group of relievers.

Clippard said he's excited to watch some of the other top pitchers in the big leagues and share their methods of success.

"As a bullpen guy, you pay attention to the prominent arms around the league," Clippard said. "Andrew Miller is a guy I've watched from afar, I really like watching him throw, it's going to be fun to be on the same team.

"David Robertson, we were teammates for a short time in the Yankees organization, but he's always been on other teams in the big leagues so I'm looking forward to seeing him. Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek ... just guys I've watched from afar and now I can pick their brains and trade some stories, things like that."

The World Baseball Classic runs from Monday through March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Corey Long is a contributor to MLB.com.

United States, New York Yankees, Tyler Clippard