New York, NY (Sports Network) - The 2008 U.S. Olympic Baseball Team was announced Wednesday with outfielder Matt LaPorta and pitcher Stephen Strasburg heading the list of 23 initial members.
The Davey Johnson managed team features 12 pitchers and 11 position players with the 24th member of the team to be announced in the coming days. The squad is comprised of 14 players currently at the Triple-A level, seven at Double-A and one each at Single-A and at the collegiate level. The team is set to compete August 13-23 at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"We are proud of the ballclub we have assembled," said USA Baseball executive director/CEO Paul Seiler. "The team is strong from top to bottom, and we are confident it will succeed in Beijing. We applaud our coaching staff and selection committee for their tireless work in putting together an excellent team."
LaPorta, also a member of the 2005 USA Baseball national team, is considered one of the best young sluggers in the minors and was recently traded to the Cleveland Indians as the key piece in the CC Sabathia deal.
The 19-year-old Strasburg gained notoriety with a 23-strikeout performance earlier this year for San Diego State University. The right-hander, who turns 20 on Sunday, is currently starring for the 2008 USA National Team
Johnson's coaching staff will include Marcel Lachemann as the team's pitching coach and Reggie Smith as the hitting coach while third-base coach Rick Eckstein and auxiliary coaches Dick Cooke and Rolando de Armas round out the staff. Johnson worked with this same staff at the 2005 IBAF Baseball World Cup and is returning to USA Baseball on the heels of a gold medal-winning performance last November at the 2007 IBAF Baseball World Cup in Taiwan.
"We have an unbelievable coaching staff," said Johnson. "We have worked together for over three years now and across several international tournaments. With the staff's help, I think we achieved the well-balanced lineup that is critical for Olympic success."
The Americans won the Olympic gold medal in 2000 with Tommy Lasorda at the helm but failed to qualify for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
In addition to LaPorta and Strasburg, the Olympic Team features seven USA Baseball alumni including, St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Colby Rasmus, Cleveland Indians right-handed pitcher Jeff Stevens, Oakland Athletics left- handed pitcher Brett Anderson, Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher Jake Arietta, Florida Marlins outfielder John Gall, Texas Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden, and Colorado Rockies right-handed pitcher Casey Weathers.
Also named to the squad were four members of the 2008 XM Future Stars USA Team including Oakland Athletics right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill, Philadelphia Phillies infielder Jason Donald, Colorado Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler, and Chicago White Sox left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard.
Rounding out the team are the following: infielders Brian Barden, Matthew Brown, Mike Hessman, and Terry Tiffee; catcher Lou Marson; right-handed pitchers Blaine Neal, Kevin Jepsen, Brandon Knight and Mike Koplove along with lefty Geno Espineli.
07/16 19:20:17 ET