Team USA Announces First Summer Team Invites

Team USA announced the first 13 players invited to this summer’s
college national team trials. The list includes Texas sophomore
outfielder Drew Stubbs, who played on last summer’s World University
Championship gold medal team.

He joins eight other sophomores, including two of nation’s ERA
leaders in righthanders Dallas Buck of Oregon State and Max Scherzer of
Missouri and a pair of the country’s best hitters in outfielders John
Jay of Miami and Shane Robinson of Florida State.

Two-way performers Joe Savery of Rice and Matt Wieters of Georgia Tech highlight the four freshmen invitees.

USA Baseball plans to announce more invitees at the end of May, and
36 players will participate in the June 27-30 trials at North Carolina
State. 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 for the 20-man roster
to be set on July 1.

“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
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
college season and at the trails–whatever that number is, that’s got
to be the carry over. It 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 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.