USA Baseball National Team Trials Invitees

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced Tuesday a list of 17 initial invitees to the 2009 USA Baseball National Team Trials to be held at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C., June 15-24.

The National Team Trials will be comprised of 36 collegiate players vying for a spot on the final 22-man roster to be announced on June 24.

Included in the list are five members of the 2008 National Team which went unbeaten last summer (24-0) and won gold medals at the FISU World University Championships in the Czech Republic and the Honkbal Tournament in the Netherlands. Returning members include sophomores Derek Dietrich (Georgia Tech); Chris Hernandez (Miami); Hunter Morris (Auburn); Micah Gibbs (LSU), who batted .264 including two home runs and a team-high 17 RBI last summer; and Christian Colon (Cal State Fullerton), who led the 2008 team with 173 plate appearances.

"USA Baseball is looking forward to kicking off the 2009 National Team Trials," National Team General Manager Eric Campbell said. "We look forward to building off the momentum of 2008's undefeated season, and with five players from last summer leading our first group of invitees, we're well on our way."

Other sophomores on the list are Michael Choice (UT Arlington), Blake Forsythe (Tennessee), Yasmani Grandal (Miami), Rick Hague (Rice), Deck McGuire (Georgia Tech), Drew Pomeranz (Mississippi), and Anthony Ranaudo (LSU).

Five freshmen received invitations as well, including Gerrit Cole (UCLA), Sonny Gray (Vanderbilt), Anthony Rendon (Rice), Logan Verrett (Baylor), and Tony Zych (Louisville).

The 2009 National Team will compete in several exhibition games in the Triangle-area of North Carolina, including a friendly series against the Canadian National Team, June 25 - 29, which will be played across both the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Following its domestic exhibition schedule, the U.S. will travel to Japan to compete in the 37th Annual Japan vs. USA Collegiate Championships before closing out its summer in Canada at the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia.

The 2009 team will be coached by Tulane University head coach Rick Jones, who previously served as an assistant coach for the red, white and blue on the 1989 Presidential Cup Team and 1990 National Team. Jones is joined by pitching coach Mike Kennedy (head coach, Elon University) and assistant coaches Dan McDonnell (head coach, Louisville University) and Rob Cooper (head coach, Wright State University; 2007 USA Baseball National Team assistant coach).

"We have both a very tough and exciting schedule facing us this season," Campbell said. "The Japan series is the highlight of our summer tour, and the National Team will be built to compete in those games."

Click here to see the 2009 National Team Trials Roster.