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Pestano 'very excited' to kick off World Baseball Classic

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Vinnie Pestano has only been with Team USA for a few days, but he has been around his temporary teammates long enough to know they are taking a serious approach. They want to win the World Baseball Classic.

"The goal isn't to just have a good showing," Pestano said. "The goal is to win it. The guys are definitely all on board with that, just judging by the work ethic and the work these guys are putting in."

Pestano stopped by the Indians' player development complex Thursday morning to get in a workout before rejoining Team USA for the upcoming tournament. The United States plays its first Classic game against Mexico as part of Pool D at 9 p.m. ET on Friday at Chase Field in Phoenix. Italy and Canada are also in Team USA's first-round pool.

On Wednesday, Pestano pitched the second inning for Team USA in an exhibition against the Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. Cleveland's setup man needed just seven pitches to breeze through Michael Cuddyer, Nolan Arenado and Tyler Colvin with a pair of flyouts and a groundout.

"Don't be afraid to keep doing that," Indians manager Terry Francona said to Pestano while walking through the Indians' clubhouse.

Following his outing, Pestano sent a text message to Francona to inform the manager of how he performed and how he felt. Francona asked the pitcher to keep checking in after every appearance to help Cleveland monitor his throwing.

Pestano said he will be available to pitch for Team USA on Friday or Saturday. If Team USA advances to the second round of the Classic, the team will play at Marlins Park from March 12-16. The Classic semifinals and championship game will take place from March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

Last season, the 28-year-old Pestano posted a 2.57 ERA in 70 appearances, during which he established a single-season club record with 36 holds. Over the past two years, the right-hander has fashioned a 2.45 ERA over 132 innings (137 games) with 160 strikeouts against 48 walks.

Pestano was looking forward to getting things started with Team USA.

"I'm very excited," Pestano said. "The guys are starting to come together a little bit. There's a lot of great personalities so far. Obviously, we're all from different teams and different backgrounds, but we share the common denominator that we're here and we volunteered to be there.

"Everybody that's there wants to be there and we obviously want to make a good run at this thing."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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