Matt Kemp is one of the former MLB stars, as well as winter Olympians Eddy alvarez, vying for a spot on the US baseball team for the Olympic qualifiers which resume next week.
Kemp, the 36-year-old former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, is one of 28 men named Sunday at training camp this week.
The final list of 26 players for a North and South America Olympic qualifying tournament in Florida will be named next Sunday, one day before the start of the winner’s event in Tokyo. Baseball is returning to the Olympic program for the first time since 2008, but will not remain so for the Paris 2024 Games.
Other MLB stars on the camp’s roster include wide receiver Matt Wieters, infielder Todd frazier and pitchers Edwin jackson and David robertson, more Homer bailey, who threw two cleans for the Cincinnati Reds.
Alvarez, a silver medalist at the 2014 US Olympic Short Track Speed ââSkating Games, became the first Winter Olympian to play in major tournaments last year with the Miami Marlins. He is currently in Triple-A.
The full camp list is here. None of them are currently big leagues. MLB has never sent active players to the Olympics.
All of the camp’s stars are 35 and over, which foreshadows an exceptionally loaded squad of veterans both for the Olympic qualifiers and, if the United States succeeds, for the Tokyo Games. The American director is Mike Scioscia, the long-time former Los Angeles Angels skipper.
Since baseball became an Olympic medalist sport in 1992, American teams were mostly NCAA players (1992 and 1996) or rising prospects in the minor leagues (2000 and 2008). Pat Borders, a 2000 team wide receiver that won a surprise gold medal, was the only American over the age of 32 to play Olympic baseball.
No one with previous MLB All-Star experience has played for the United States in previous Olympics. Two did it for other nations – Australian receiver Dave nilsson and Canadian launcher Jason dickson.
But Tokyo could be different. Other stars Adam jones (USA, who plays professionally in Japan), Ian kinsler (Israel), Jose bautista (Dominican Republic), Adrian gonzalez (Mexico) and Masahiro Tanaka have expressed an interest in Olympic baseball.
If the United States does not qualify in qualifying for North and South America, it could have one more chance at a win-to-Tokyo world tournament two weeks later.
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