Team USA Expands Invitee List To 25




Southern California sophomore righthander Ian Kennedy, who led Team USA with 40 strikeouts in 2004, headlines the second group of players invited to the national team trials. The latest group of 12 players brings the total number of invitees to 25, and USA Baseball will extend offers to 11 more players before picking the 20-man roster from a pool of 36 following the June 27-30 trials at North Carolina State’s Doak Field in Raleigh.

Florida sophomores Adam Davis and Matt LaPorta will join previously announced classmate Brian Jeroloman at the trials, giving the Gators three participants. Arkansas, Arkansas and Georgia Tech will each send two players.

The 2005 team will not play for a major championship, instead facing two international opponents in Durham, N.C., while also making five-game trips to Japan and Taiwan. The 2001 team was also a developmental one, with nine freshmen making that roster and four of them returning for the 2002 team.

Eric Campbell, USA Baseball national teams director, said that's a ratio he and 2005 coach Steve Smith (Baylor) might aim for this year, though they want to pick the best overall players.

"We're not going to force it," Campbell said. "Here's one way of thinking about it: We've got to go to Cuba in 2006 for the FISU (World University) Championship, but I really think the national team needs to have the type of program that can win all four of our series (this summer).

"Whatever freshmen make it naturally--based on performance in the college season and at the trails--whatever that number is, that's got to be the carry-over. If we force too many freshmen and have a bad season, that's going to do more harm to the national team program. If we force a freshman on who turns into a role player, it'd probably be better for him to go play a full-time role in the Cape and then come back the next year after another college season."

UC Santa Barbara shortstop Chris Valaika and North Carolina righthander Daniel Bard both played for Team USA as freshmen last year, but won't participate this year. Valaika tore his anterior cruciate ligament in March, and Bard will head to the Cape Cod League this summer, as will his classmate and teammate Andrew Miller.

San Diego sophomore lefthander Nate Boman received an invitation, but surgery to repair a slightly torn labrum in his right shoulder will force him to miss the trials.


Team USA Trials Roster
New invitees indicated by asterisk

Player, Position

Class

School

*Michael Ambort, c

So.

Lamar

J.P. Arencibia, c/1b

Fr.

Tennessee

Dallas Buck, rhp

So.

Oregon State

*Adam Davis, 2b

So.

Florida

*Jason Donald, ss

So.

Arizona

*Sean Doolittle, 1b/lhp

Fr.

Virginia

Blair Erickson, rhp

So.

UC Irvine

*John Gaub, lhp

So.

Minnesota

Danny Hamblin, 1b

So.

Arkansas

*Wes Hodges, 3b

So.

Georgia Tech

John Jay, of

So.

Miami

Brian Jeroloman, c

So.

Florida

*Ian Kennedy, rhp

So.

Southern California

*Matt LaPorta, 1b/c

So.

Florida

*Beau Mills, 3b

Fr.

Fresno State

Mark Melancon, rhp

So.

Arizona

David Price, lhp

Fr.

Vanderbilt

Shane Robinson, of

So.

Florida State

Joe Savery, lhp/1b

Fr.

Rice

Max Scherzer, rhp

So.

Missouri

*Nick Schmidt, lhp

Fr.

Arkansas

*John Shelby, 2b

So.

Kentucky

Drew Stubbs, of

So.

Texas

Keith Wieser, lhp

So.

Miami (Ohio)