Youkilis to accept Classic invitation

Youkilis to accept Classic invite

It appears that Kevin Youkilis will join teammate Dustin Pedroia on Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

The Boston Globe reported that Youkilis will accept an invitation following a season in which he established career highs in batting average (.312), homers (29) and RBIs (115) in 2008. The production earned him a third-place finish in balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.

Pedroia, who won the AL MVP in 2008, told WEEI.com -- the Web site of the Red Sox's flagship radio station -- last week that he recently accepted an invitation to suit up for Team USA.

Boston will be well represented at the Classic. Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka was named to Japan's preliminary roster, and the Red Sox confirmed the likelihood that he will participate in the showcase event. Matsuzaka was the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural Classic in 2006.

David Ortiz played for the Dominican Republic in 2006, and as long as he has no health concerns, the big designated hitter expects to do so again. Left fielder Jason Bay is all but certain to get an invitation from Canada.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon and left-hander Jon Lester are other Boston players who might have received overtures from Team USA.

A couple of players who apparently will not be involved in the Classic are right-hander Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell.

The Boston Globe confirmed that Beckett will pass on the international tournament in order to fully heal from an oblique injury suffered toward the end of the 2008 season and ensure that he's ready for Opening Day.

Lowell, who planned to play for Puerto Rico if healthy, also will sit out the Classic while recovering from hip surgery.