Closer Mark Melancon is leaving to join Team USA for the final round of the World Baseball Classic, while another pitcher in Giants camp is left to deal with disappointment and deflect the carping of critics.

Johnny Cueto said he would have pitched Tuesday’s semifinal game for the Dominican Republic against Japan, had his country beaten Team USA on Saturday to advance to the final round.

Instead, he is hearing it from fans back home for not participating earlier in the tournament – even though it’s well documented that the right-hander reported late because of his father’s health issues.

“There’s a lot of talk back home that I didn’t want to pitch for the Dominican team because I’m making too much money,” Cueto said. “Why? There are players making more money than me, like (Robinson) Canó.

“Everybody should know I didn’t go because I wasn’t ready to pitch at that level. I reported late and I couldn’t just go out there and put my baseball career in jeopardy because my arm wasn’t ready.”

“I truly wanted to represent my country. I’m sure that goes for everybody who wants to represent their flag.”

Cueto can opt out of the final four seasons of his contract after the season, making this in essence a walk year for the All-Star pitcher. But he has insisted that his reasons for putting off the Dominican team were not related to financial reasons.