Team USA includes six returnees
By John Manuel
As USA Baseball wrapped up its tour of possible relocation sites, it also named the first players who will be invited to its last national team trials at its current Tucson location.
The first 19 players invited will gather at Hi Corbett Field for trials June 18-23, trying to make the roster for the national team that will represent the United States in the first-ever FISU World University Championships.
Last year's national team was built with these World Championships, scheduled for Aug. 1-11 in Italy, in mind. So it's no surprise that six of the first 19 players were involved with the team last year, including outfielders Sam Fuld (Stanford), Carlos Quentin (Stanford) and Rickie Weeks (Southern), and 2001 Freshman of the Year Michael Aubrey (Tulane), a lefthander who can pitch, play a corner outfield spot or first base.
Other returnees include versatile infielder Omar Quintanilla (Texas) righthander Bob Zimmermann (Southwest Missouri State), whose six saves led the team last summer. Catcher Landon Powell (South Carolina) and second baseman Tim Moss (Texas) have USA Baseball experience at the junior team level.
All the players invited so far are sophomores except for second baseman Eric Patterson, one of three Georgia Tech invitees, and righthander Philip Humber (Rice).
This most likely will be the last Team USA to train in Tucson. A delegation headed by USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler visited five different sites to find the governing body a new home. The tour included stops at spring-training complexes in Jupiter and Kissimmee, Fla.; Atlanta and its suburban East Cobb baseball complex; the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area; and Aberdeen, Md., site of Cal Ripken's new baseball complex and short-season Orioles affiliate.
USA Baseball has been located in Tucson, its first attempt at having its offices and field in the same location, since moving in 1997. Previously, the organization's offices were in Trenton, N.J., while its home field was in Millington, Tenn.
"We need to make this move work, and it has to be for the right reasons," said committee chair Jack Kelly, joined on the tour by committee members Ted Wood (a member of the gold-medal 1988 Olympic team), NBC World Series president Steve Shaad, and USA Baseball's Seiler, David Perkins and Dave Fanucchi.
"We can't afford to do something wrong, something that hurts the game of baseball. The last time we moved, we didn't get it right. We made the wrong move for the wrong reasons."
Team USA Invitees
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