Marco Estrada uncertain on status for World Baseball Classic

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marco Estrada throws against the Seattle Mariners. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Toronto Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada would be a favourite to lead the Mexican rotation at the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but the 33-year-old told MLB Network Radio that he doesn’t think he’ll pitch in the opening round due to a lingering back issue.

Estrada first injured his back in early 2016 while preparing for the season. He opened the campaign with a brief stint on the disabled list and was eventually forced to miss three weeks in July.

It was confirmed later in the season that the right-hander was pitching with a herniated disc in his back. This showed in Estrada's regular season performance, as he posted a 4.27 ERA over 13 starts after returning in late July.

Entering the final year of his two-year contract with the Blue Jays, Estrada is due $14.5 million in 2017.

The Mexican team opens Pool D play on March 9th in Jalisco, Mexico and will face Italy, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The second round, which Estrada references as a potential return date, begins soon after on March 14th in San Diego if Mexico finishes in the top two of its pool.

Roberto Osuna is confirmed to play for Mexico and Aaron Sanchez is also eligible.