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Team USA makes plans for Olympics

By Will Lingo

To identify 24 players for Team USA’s first venture into the Olympics with professional players, 18 major league organizations will have their say.

A steering committee and a selection committee will help co-chairmen Bob Watson and Bill Bavasi. The steering committee was announced earlier this spring. The selection committee was identified in mid-April.

The selection committee will assemble the 24-man team of minor leaguers who will go to Sydney, Australia. The committee will include Bavasi, Watson, USA Baseball executive director Paul Seiler and 15 front-office officials. Two general managers, Pat Gillick (Mariners) and Chuck LaMar (Devil Rays) are on the committee.

Also on the selection committee are Allard Baird (Royals vice president); Pat Daugherty (Rockies assistant GM); Gary Hughes (Reds director of pro scouting); Sandy Johnson (Diamondbacks assistant GM); Roger Jongewaard (Mariners vice president); Bill Lajoie (Braves special assignment scout); Omar Minaya (Mets senior assistant GM); Gary Nickels (Padres director of pro scouting); J.P. Ricciardi (Athletics special assistant to the GM); Paul Ricciarini (Astros coordinator of pro scouting); Gary Sutherland (Angels special assistant to the GM); Don Welke (Dodgers senior scouting director); and Dave Wilder (Brewers vice president of player personnel).

Last year, when the United States and several other countries used minor leaguers for the first time in international competition, Team USA won a silver medal at the Pan American Games in Winnipeg. Cuba claimed the gold.

"These two committees did an exceptional job last year," said Sandy Alderson, executive vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball.

The International Baseball Federation also released the schedule for the 2000 Olympic baseball competition, which will be played Sept. 17-27. The United States will begin play on Sept. 17 at Homebush Bay, the main Olympic venue, against Japan, and will play each team once in round-robin play.

The top four teams will advance from pool play to the semifinals on Sept. 26. The medal games are scheduled for Sept. 27.

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