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Gio accepts invite to pitch for Team USA

Gio accepts invite to pitch for Team USA

Team USA has picked up a big-name southpaw.

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez has accepted an invitation to join a rotation that already includes reigning National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants and Derek Holland of the Rangers.

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Gonzalez replaces Kris Medlen of the Braves, who had been slated to play.

Rosters for the World Baseball Classic will not be formally announced until they're finalized on Feb. 20.

Gonzalez, 27, led the NL in wins in 2012, with 21, one ahead of Dickey (who is now with the Blue Jays). He recorded a 2.89 ERA and struck out 207 in 199 1/3 innings. Tigers ace Justin Verlander hasn't publicly decided yet whether he'll participate in the Classic, which makes a front three of Verlander, Dickey and Gonzalez at least a remote possibility.

Team USA will gather at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick complex in Scottsdale, Ariz., on March 4 and open its leg of the 16-team tournament against Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix on March 8. Canada and Italy are the other two teams in the bracket. The final is scheduled to be played at San Francisco's AT&T Park on March 19.

Gonzalez's decision to participate comes shortly after he was linked to a Miami anti-aging clinic that Major League Baseball is investigating for distributing performance-enhancing drugs.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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