The 2007 Arizona Fall League rosters usually take several hits at this time of year, but Team USA’s upcoming trip to participate in the World Cup in Taiwan on Nov. 6-18, has the AFL scrambling more than usual with just three weeks before the season is set to begin.
The AFL will lose Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus and first baseman Steven Pearce to the national team from the start, and will drop Devil Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who will leave Scottsdale to play for Team USA on Oct. 22.
The complete Team USA roster will be available early next week, but sources from several clubs have indicated the American team–seen as a precursor to the ’08 Olympic roster–will have several top prospects in the lineup, including Longoria, Pearce, Rasmus, Minor League Player of the Year Jay Bruce (Reds), Tyler Colvin and Eric Patterson (Cubs), and Josh Outman (Phillies).
The AFL lost Braves outfielder Brandon Jones when the Braves announced Wednesday that their prized prospect will play for Navajoa in the Mexican Pacific League. Jones batted .295/.367/.490 with 19 homers and 100 RBIs between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Richmond this season. Jones was called up to the big leagues last weekend, but the Braves then returned him to Richmond for the ‘Bricktown Showdown,’ where the 23-year-old went 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored in the R-Braves’ 7-1 loss to Sacramento.
Phillies righthander Scott Mathieson also will not be heading west. Mathieson, who had Tommy John surgery last year after making his major league debut, had a minor setback after pitching eight rehab innings in the minors this summer. The club opted to shut him down to continue his rehab process in advance of spring training.
HAWAII WINTER BASEBALL: Several changes in Hawaii, as the league looks to improve on its talent level in year two of the rebirth of the circuit . . .
â€¢ On the West Oahu CaneFires roster, Japanese righthander Keisaku Itokazu replaced Kazunori Yamamoto, and outfielder Todd Martin (Indians) replaced Stephen Head (Indians).
â€¢ The Honolulu Sharks switched Yankees relievers, getting righthander Anthony Claggett rather than righthander Mark Melancon, who is coming off elbow surgery.
â€¢ The Giants swapped out two players on the Waikiki BeachBoys roster, with lefthander Ben Snyder subbing in for righthander Dave McKae, and outfielder Antoan Richardson taking the place of Ben Copeland.
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