Francisco Rodriguez to pitch for Venezuela in 2013 WBC

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Francisco Rodriguez is still a free agent. But that hasn’t affected his desire to pitch in a third straight World Baseball Classic for his native Venezuela.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that “K-Rod” has committed to work out of the bullpen for Team Venezuela in the 2013 WBC and will hope to “use the event as springboard for a new job.” Rodriguez was also on the Venezuelan roster in 2006 and 2009.

The 31-year-old right-hander registered an underwhelming 4.38 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 78 appearances last season for the Brewers, though he did strike out 72 batters in 72 innings. He should eventually land with a major league team.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.