May 8, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz. (www.TheSunDevils.com) -- Arizona State Baseball players Travis Buck, Jeff Larish and Dustin Pedroia have been invited to the 2003 USA Baseball National Team Trials, to be held in Tucson, Ariz., from June 21-27. Buck, Larish and Pedroia were part of a selection show Thursday where 18 more players were invited to the Team USA Trials. One more wave of 10 invitees will be announced before the trials begin in June at Hi Corbett Field.
Pedroia and Georgia Tech's Eric Patterson were selected after both playing for Team USA last summer. Phillip Humber (Rice) and Huston Street (Texas) also played in 2002 for Team USA and were part of the first wave of selections last month. Georgia Tech and ASU each had three players selected for the trials Thursday.
Buck, Larish and Pedroia are looking to become the latest in a long line of Sun Devils who have played for the USA Baseball National Team. ASU has sent five players to the national team in the last five years and eight total players since 1984. In recent years Willie Bloomquist (1998), Jon Switzer (2000), Casey Myers (2000), Mike Esposito (2001) and Pedroia (2002) have donned the Red, White and Blue for USA Baseball.
Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) is in the midst of an All-American caliber season in which he leads the Pac-10 in hitting at .419 (95-for-227), and with 29 doubles is only one off the ASU single-season record of 30 set by Chris Bando in 1978. He has also notched 32 multi-hit games while starting all 53 games for the Sun Devils this year and is one game away from his fourth hitting streak of 10 or more games. The starting shortstop for Team USA last year until breaking a bone near his eye late last summer, Pedroia hit .208 with two doubles in 18 games with a wood bat.
Larish (Tempe, Ariz.) quickly put his name in the player of the year watch hitting 11 home runs and tabbing 59 RBI in his first 29 games of the season. While cooling off a little as of late, Larish is still having a banner season hitting .367 (65-for-177) with 15 home runs, 12 doubles and leads the Pac-10 with 79 RBI. With five more walks (65), Larish will also become only the second Sun Devil to join the 70-70 (RBI-BB) club in a single season as only former major leaguer Alvin Davis has matched those impressive statistics.
Buck (Richland, Wash.) has wasted little time making an impact for the Sun Devils, hitting .356 (67-for-188) with 12 doubles and three home runs while starting 51 games in the outfield. Buck is off to a great start in ASU's 15 Pac-10 games hitting .397 and was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after ASU's series win against USC (4/1). The Freshman All-America candidate also became the first freshman in ASU and Pac-10 history to hit for the cycle when he went 5-for-5 with seven RBI against Southern Utah (3/7).
The USA National Team will be selected from a pool of 36 players, of whom an additional 10 have yet to be determined. USA Baseball's final selection of the athletes who will comprise the team that will represent the USA at the 2003 Pan Am Games is subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee. The official team roster will be determined and announced on June 27. The 2003 USA Baseball National Team will open play on Wednesday, July 2 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park at 7 p.m. vs. Japan. Team USA will also play an additional seven games in Durham, along with several more domestic exhibition games prior to representing the United States at the Pan Am Games in the Dominican Republic in August.
Arizona State Players on Team USA 1984 Oddibe McDowell 1990 Jim Austin 1995 Kaipo Spenser 1998 Willie Bloomquist 2000 Jon Switzer 2000 Casey Myers 2001 Mike Esposito 2002 Dustin Pedroia