SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs reliever David Hernandez will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic rather than Team Mexico as originally planned.
Hernandez was ruled ineligible to play for Mexico because his grandparents were not born in Mexico. Hernandez's great-grandparents were born there, but that is not enough for eligibility.
Hernandez was informed of his ineligibility Saturday, and at the same time he was offered a spot on the U.S. team that opened when Indians closer Chris Perez was scratched due to a strained right shoulder.
"It's really disappointing," Hernandez said. "I was really looking forward to pitching with Team Mexico, but it's definitely a great honor to pitch on the USA team because it's where I was born, raised and grew up."
Hernandez has been a consistent setup man for the D-backs over the past two seasons, pitching mainly the eighth inning while also filling in for closer J.J. Putz. The 27-year-old has appeared in 146 games since 2011 and has compiled a 2.94 ERA.
"I was definitely looking forward to pitching against Team USA because they have a really talented roster," Hernandez said. "But I'm just glad those guys are on my side now. I'm really looking forward to it, hopefully we can win it. That's the ultimate goal."
Gregorius playing catch for first time at camp
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs shortstop Didi Gregorius began playing catch Saturday for the first time since he felt discomfort in his throwing elbow around Christmas.
Gregorius came over in the deal that sent pitching prospect Trevor Bauer to the Indians, and not long after he suffered some pain in his elbow while playing catch. The team immediately shut him down, and instead of having him compete for the starting shortstop job this spring, the D-backs decided to remove that possibility.
"We've tried to take that out of the equation and take a chance to get to know him," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's worked out a ton, worked on his running. In the end we're being overly cautious because we don't want to take any chances with it. Everything has been outstanding to this point."
Gregorius will play catch from about 60 feet for the next week or so before they decide how to progress from there.