USA Baseball Announces Summer Roster

Team USA announced its 22-man roster for its summer tour Friday, a
roster headed by 2004 team alumni Ian Kennedy (Southern California) and
Drew Stubbs (Texas).

For the 17 players who were cut Thursday, though, coach Steve Smith (Baylor) had a story to remind them not to despair.

“In the first meeting I had with the team, I read off five names’”Ben
Sheets, Barry Zito, Brian Roberts, Xavier Nady, Kevin Mench,” said
Smith, who was an assistant to Ron Polk on the ‘™98 squad. “They have
two things in common’”they’™re all playing in the big leagues, and they
all got cut in 1998 from Team USA.

“It was almost impossible to make these cuts; it was almost flipping
a coin on who we chose, it was that difficult. But I didn’™t want any of
them to think this was the end of their career if they didn’™t make this
team. (Lamar catcher) Michael Ambort came in after he found out he
didn’™t make the team and just said, ‘˜I’™m just going to try to be one of
the five.’™ I thought that was a great response.”

Of course, the futures of the players who made the team also should
be bright. Kennedy, a first-team All-American, should be the team’™s
ace. The fleet-footed Stubbs, a premier defender in center field, is
one of eight players for Team USA who participated in the College World
Series, including three from national runner-up Florida’”second baseman
Adam Davis, catcher Brian Jeroloman and first baseman Matt LaPorta.

Perhaps no player had a more impressive trials performance than
LaPorta. First, he arrived a day before the other CWS championship
series players, driven by a strong desire to make the team. Then
LaPorta sealed his place on the roster by hitting three home runs in
the trials games Thursday.

That was running theme of the trials’”power’”that impressed Smith.

“It started in BP and carried on into the games’”all the guys swung
the bat well with wood, it really surprised and impressed me,” Smith
said. “That would not have been the case, I don’™t think, six or seven
years ago. You can tell they’™ve all been swinging with wood. When a
little guy like Shane Robinson (Florida State) is hitting one out, you
know he’™s been swinging with wood.”

Robinson, also a first-team All-American, is one of six Atlantic
Coast Conference players on the roster, the most of any conference.
Five Southeastern Conference representatives made it, as well as four
players each from the Pacific-10 and Big 12 conferences.

The roster includes three of the nation’™s top freshmen, all two-way
players’”Virginia’™s Sean Doolitte, Rice’™s Joe Savery and Georgia Tech’™s
Matt Wieters. All three were first-team All-Freshman selections. Savery
isn’™t expected to hit this summer after breaking a bone in his right
(non-throwing) hand in a super-regional against Tulane. The only other
freshmen to make the roster are lefthander David Price (Vanderbilt) and
catcher J.P. Arencibia (Tennessee).

“It’™s hard to imagine a more versatile player than Wieters,” Smith
said of the catcher/closer. “Doolittle really was great the last two
days of the trials’”I think he had seven or eight hits, and he looked
good on the mound and gives us another lefthander.”

Team USA begins its summer schedule this weekend against three teams
from the New England Collegiate League, opening play Saturday night in
Connecticut against the Torrington Twisters, followed by games Sunday
against the Keene (N.H.) Swamp Bats and Monday with a July 4 game
against the Newport Gulls at historic Cardines Field.

Then it’™s off to Japan for the annual series against Japan’™s college
all-stars. Former Southern California coach Rod Dedeaux, 92, who began
the series 35 years ago, will accompany Team USA for the trip. The team
also plays five games in Taiwan before returning to the U.S. for a
series against Italy that begins July 22.

“This is more of a tour,” Smith said. “That’s the one aspect of it
that is most different. There are several series’ of games in
international competition, but there is not one event that you are
working towards.”

USA BASEBALL COLLEGE TEAM TRIALS ROSTER

Pitchers

Yr.

School

Sean Doolittle, lhp/1b

Fr.

Virginia

Kevin Gunderson, lhp

So.

Oregon State

Ian Kennedy, rhp

So.

Southern California

Kyle McCulloch, rhp

So.

Texas

Mark Melancon, rhp

So.

Arizona

Jonah Nickerson, rhp

So.

Oregon State

Chris Perez, rhp

So.

Miami

David Price, lhp

Fr.

Vanderbilt

Joe Savery, lhp

Fr.

Rice

Max Scherzer, rhp

So.

Missouri

Catchers

Yr.

School

J.P. Arencibia

Fr.

Tennessee

Brian Jeroloman

So.

Florida

Matt Wieters, c/1b/rhp

Fr.

Georgia Tech

Infielders

Yr.

School

Adam Davis, 2b

So.

Florida

Blake Davis, ss

So.

Cal State Fullerton

Wes Hodges, 3b

So.

Georgia Tech

Matt LaPorta, 1b

So.

Florida

Josh Rodriguez, ss

So.

Rice

Outfielders

Yr.

School

Jon Jay

So.

Miami

Hunter Mense

So.

Missouri

Shane Robinson

So.

Florida State

Drew Stubbs

So.

Texas

College | #2006 #Summer Scene #Team USA

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