Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 20 News List

US Olympic baseball team includes former major league stars

AP , DURHAM, CAROLINA

Former major leaguers Mike Kinkade and Chad Allen lead the roster for the US national team that will compete in an Olympic qualifying tournament in Havana from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5.

The US did not qualify for the last Summer Olympics, in Athens in 2004.

The 24-man roster announced on Monday consists of professionals that are not in the majors and will be the eighth time the national team will use MLB-affiliated players.

Top two

Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela will also compete, with the top two finishers advancing to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The third and fourth-place finishers will advance to a second qualifying event to be held in the spring of 2008.

Former major league manager Davey Johnson will be in charge of the team.

He will be assisted by hitting coach Reggie Smith, pitching coach Kirk Champion and bench coach Rick Eckstein.

Experience

In addition to infielder Kinkade, who's with the Florida organization, and outfielder Allen (Kansas City), both former Olympians, other players with previous national team experience are outfielders Billy Butler (Kansas City) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (St Louis); infielders Brian LaHair (Seattle), Bobby Hill (San Diego) and Brandon Wood (Los Angeles Angels); and pitchers J.B. Cox (New York Yankees), Zach Segovia (Philadelphia) and Nic Ungs (Florida).

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