Derrek Lee Declines WBC Invitation

Tyler FranzCorrespondent IMarch 19, 2009

MESA, AZ - MARCH 03:  Derrek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs warms up before the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at HoHoKam Park on March 3, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona. The Cubs defeated the A's 6-4.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee declined the invitation to fill in at first base for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

After Boston's Kevin Youkilis went down with a twisted ankle, Team USA contacted Lee, who was on the top of their list, and asked him to play in the team's semifinal game against Venezuela.

Lee was originally invited to join the team before the tournament but didn't want to be a backup.

Lee has sat out the last couple Spring Training games and cited a "sore right quad" as the reason for not playing in the WBC.

Team USA has taken several steps to fill the void at first, specifically by signing Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria at third.  This move allows Team USA to shift the versatile Mark DeRosa to first if the team cannot find a true first baseman.

Team USA takes on Venezuela in the semifinals Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. ET.