June 24, 2008
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DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced Tuesday its 2008 National (Collegiate) Team, headlined by left-handed pitcher and 2007 National Team member Mike Minor (Vanderbilt; Chapel Hill, Tenn.). The 20-man roster consists of nine pitchers, nine position players and a pair of two-way players. The 2008 USA Baseball National Team will compete next month in the Haarlem Baseball Week in the Netherlands and at the FISU World Championships in the Czech Republic.
The National Team roster was selected following a two-week trials period, during which time the trials participants played 10 games and had two intrasquad scrimmages. Comprised of the top non-draft-eligible college players in the United States, the National Team plays six games against the Chinese Taipei National Team before beginning competition in Europe.
The USA Baseball Olympic Team is comprised of the top professional players not on a 25-man roster; that squad will be announced July 16.
Rob Walton (Oral Roberts) serves as head coach of the 2008 National Team with pitching coach Jerry Meyers (Old Dominion) and assistant coaches Nino Giarratano (San Francisco) and Ritch Price (Kansas). Eric Campbell is the general manager for the USA Baseball National Team.
"Even though we are only at 20 players, this team is as ready as any national team in my time to start an international series," Campbell said. "I credit this readiness to Rob Walton and his staff. We have had a great trials, and this team is eager and ready to play for their country."
Minor was 5-3 with a 2.08 ERA in nine appearances for the 2007 National Team. He is joined on the 2008 National Team pitching staff by right-handers Kyle Gibson (Missouri; Greenfield, Ind.), A.J. Griffin (San Diego; El Cajon, Calif.), Kevin Rhoderick (Oregon State; Scottsdale, Ariz.), Stephen Strasburg (San Diego State; San Diego, Calif.) and Kendal Volz (Baylor; Bulverde, Texas), and left-handers Chris Hernandez (Miami-FL; Miami, Fla.), Tyler Lyons (Oklahoma State; Lubbock, Texas) and Andrew Oliver (Oklahoma State; Vermillion, Ohio).
Outfielder Kentrail Davis (Tennessee; Theodore, Ala.) headlines the position players. Davis hit .463 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 12 games during the 2008 National Team Trials. He is joined by outfielders Matt den Dekker (Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Josh Fellhauer (Cal State Fullerton; Rancho Cucamonga), infielders Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton; Corona, Calif.), Derek Dietrich (Georgia Tech; Parma, Ohio), Ryan Jackson (Miami-FL; Miami Springs, Fla.) and Hunter Morris (Auburn; Huntsville, Ala.), and catchers Micah Gibbs (LSU; Pflugerville, Texas) and Ryan Lipkin (San Francisco; Vacaville, Calif.).
The two utility players are infielder/right-handed pitcher Mike Leake (Arizona State; Fallbrook, Calif.) and outfielder/right-handed pitcher Blake Smith (California; Modesto, Calif.).
USA Baseball will announce the final two members of the 2008 National Team later this week.
"Without a doubt, this is an outstanding collection of talent both on the mound and in the lineup," Walton said. "We have plus arms, solid defenders and a group of quality hitters with great makeup. We look forward to representing the United States in international competition with this team."
The National Team begins competition Wednesday, opening a six-game series against the Chinese Taipei National Team in Greenville, S.C. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT at West End Field.
USA Baseball is the National Governing Body of amateur baseball in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The organization selects and trains the United States Olympic Baseball Team (and all other USA Baseball Professional Teams); the USA Baseball National Team (collegiate); the USA Baseball 18U, 16U and 14U National Teams; and the USA Baseball Women's National Team, all of which participate in various international competitions each year. For more information on USA Baseball please visit usabaseball.com