NEW YORK (AP / CBS13) – A Sacramento River Cats player was one of a dozen boxers named for the 2021 U.S. Olympic baseball team.
Scott Kazmir, the 37-year-old River Cat’s left-hander, got the call while the United States tries its first Olympic baseball gold medal since 2000.
Although two of the Tampa Bay Rays’ young arms will share much of the burden.
Shane Baz, a 22-year-old Double-A right-hander, was added to the 24-man list to join 25-year-old Triple-A right-hander Joe Ryan. They will start pitchers for manager Mike Scioscia’s team in Japan along with Toronto right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson and former Texas right-hander Nick Martinez, now with Fukuoka in Japan.
“You look at the future of Tampa, and you look at these two guys. If they develop to their potential on the mound, that team will be good for a while,” said Scioscia.
Kazmir may be his fifth starter, and outfielder Bubba Starling was also among the 10 additions on Friday.
They joined a qualifying group led by third baseman Todd Frazier, relievers Edwin Jackson and David Robertson, and Miami infielder Eddy Alvarez, a 2014 silver medalist in sprint racing.
Major League Baseball does not allow players on 40-man lists to participate in the Olympics, and many teams discourage top-qualified prospects from playing.
Infielder Luke Williams, the best American hitter in qualifying, was called up by Philadelphia, and right-hander James Sherfy was brought to the major leagues by San Francisco right after the qualifying tournament.
“We made some necessary just because the players have moved around,” said Scioscia.
Player Jarren Duran, who hit. 368 in qualifying, was not allowed to Boston to travel to Japan.
“General managers have been incredibly receptive to understanding what the experience is like for many of their young players, but first and foremost they have to account for their own team and their own organization,” said Scioscia.
St. Louis blocked 22-year-old left-hander Matthew Liberatore, who started twice in qualifying but will go to the All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field on July 11.
“They have him on track for what they need to join the organization. We respect that, “said Scoscia.
Yakult right-hander Scott McGough and Yokohama outfielder Tyler Austin were also added, who will play at home for the Olympics. Orix outfielder Adam Jones was not picked.
Only three of the 24 players are among the top 100 potential customers.
Baz, a 22-year-old right-hander, taken 12th by Pittsburgh in the 2017 amateur draft, is 3-4 with a 2.12 ERA for Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, hitting 69 on 46 2/3 innings.
Woods Richardson and Boston player Triston Casas were on the American team that beat Venezuela 4-2 on June 5 to serve one of the six Olympic berths.
Woods Richardson, 20, is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA and 50 strikes in 27 2/3 innings for Double-A New Hampshire. His qualifying start, the group stage final against Puerto Rico, was calculated after allowing one run and four hits in four innings.
Casas, 21, strikes. 275 with four homers and 23 RBIs for Double-A Portland. He hit 400 (6 for 15) with three RBIs in the qualifying tournament.
Kazmir were 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance for San Francisco, and were then sent straight to Triple-A Sacramento on June 11th. He is 2-0 with a 2.66 ERA this year in minors.
Starling, 28, struck. 169 with a homer and five RBIs for Kansas City in 2020, hitting .271 with seven homers and 17 RBIs this season for Triple-A Omaha.
Frazier, released by Pittsburgh in May after going 3 for 35, was the star of the qualifying tournament. The 35-year-old third baseman was 4 for 4 with home runs and an RBI double in the final. He was 6 for 15 (.400) with two homers and five RBIs in the four games of the Americas tournament.
Robertson, 36, allowed one race over two laps in qualifying. Jackson, 37, allowed a run of 2 2/3 laps.
Among the dropouts who had been on the qualifying list were right-handers Homer Bailey and DJ Johnson; left-handed Trevor Lane, Drew Parrish and Marc Rzepczynski; infielders Logan Forsythe and Luke Williams; and outfielders Jon Jay and Matt Kemp.
Matt Wieters, cut from the qualifiers just before the Americas tournament, was also not included.
The United States open Group B against Israel on July 30 and play defending champion South Korea the next day. The group includes hosts Japan, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
The group game determines sowing for the knockout stage with double elimination, which starts in August. 1. The gold medal and the bronze medal games are aug. 7.
Japan, whose list includes former New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Yomiuri Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano, is the tournament’s favorite.
Baseball was dropped from the Olympics after 2008, was restored this year and will be dropped again for the Paris Games in 2024. It is expected to be added in 2028 in Los Angeles.
Before heading to the Olympics, the United States will play exhibitions in Cary, North Carolina, on July 18 and 20 around a game in Durham.
Right-handed pitchers: Shane Baz (Tampa Bay), Anthony Carter (Saraperos de Saltillo, Mexico), Brandon Dickson (St. Louis), Edwin Jackson, Nick Martinez (Fukuoka, Japan), Scott McGough (Yakult, Japan), David Robertson, Joe Ryan (Tampa Bay), Ryder Ryan (Texas), Simeon Woods Richardson; (Toronto)
Left-handed pitchers: Anthony Gose (Cleveland), Scott Kazmir (San Francisco)
Wrestlers: Tim Federowicz (LA Dodgers), Mark Kolozsvary (Cincinnati)
Cast: Nick Allen (Oakland), Eddy Alvarez (Miami), Triston Casas (Boston), Todd Frazier, Jack Lopez (Boston), Jamie Westbook (Milwaukee)
Outfielders: Tyler Austin (Yokohama, Japan), Eric Filia (Seattle), Patrick Kivlehan (San Diego), Bubba Starling (Kansas City)