Olympic baseball rosters scattered with past MLB All-Stars

82nd MLB All-Star Game
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Active MLB players are not participating in baseball’s Olympic return in Tokyo, but past MLB All-Stars will nonetheless be on five of the six teams.

The last rosters were announced this week, including five-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez headlining the Mexican team and six-time All-Star slugger Jose Bautista and 2012 All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera named by the Dominican Republic.

Previously, Israel announced its roster with four-time All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler. The Japanese named two-time All-Star starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The U.S. included four All-Stars — infielder Todd Frazier and pitchers Edwin JacksonScott Kazmir and David Robertson.

South Korea, the defending Olympic champion from 2008, is the lone team without a past All-Star on its 24-man roster. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was named to a preliminary roster in March but did not make the final team.

In baseball’s previous iteration as a medal sport from 1992-2008, two Olympians had prior MLB All-Star experience — Australian catcher Dave Nilsson and Canadian pitcher Jason Dickson.

Many players competed at the Olympics before making an MLB All-Star team, including Stephen Strasburg and Jason Giambi.

Active MLB players have never participated in the Olympics during the middle of their seasons, so U.S. teams previously were minor leaguers or college players.

With baseball in the Olympics for the first time in 13 years, and for the last time until at least 2028, aging stars who are no longer on big-league clubs expressed interest.

Baseball was re-added for the Tokyo Games but is not on the regular Olympic program. It will not be contested at the 2024 Paris Games but could be added for Los Angeles in 2028.

Olympic baseball rosters:

Dominican Republic — ROSTER
Israel — ROSTER
Japan — ROSTER
Mexico — ROSTER
South Korea — ROSTER
United States — ROSTER

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Jake Reed, husband of Olympic softball player Janie, makes MLB debut

2021 Los Angeles Angels Photo Day
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It’s been a great couple of days for the Reed family.

On Monday, July 5, Janie Reed arrived in Japan to prepare for her Olympic debut with the U.S. softball team. Then on Tuesday, July 6 (U.S. time), her husband Jake Reed made his Major League Baseball debut.

After the Los Angeles Dodgers had picked up Jake’s contract earlier that day, he was called to the mound for that night’s game against the Miami Marlins.

Reed pitched two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the sixth, striking out Garrett Cooper, intentionally walking Jesus Sanchez and allowing two hits and an unearned run; the Marlins won 2-1.

“Can someone please give him a big hug for me???” Janie tweeted, reacting to the Dodgers selecting Jake’s contract.

Her teammates, including 2008 silver medalist Monica Abbott, were sharing their excitement for Jake all day on social media.

Dejah Mulipola, a 2021 Arizona grad, posted clips of her catching for Jake last year during the lockdown period of the pandemic.

Olympic team alternate Keilani Ricketts‘ Instagram story included video of the team chanting, “Jake! Jake! Jake!” as Janie entered the room during breakfast.

The Americans are in Iwakuni, 430-plus miles from Tokyo, where they will play four doubleheaders from July 9-13 and train leading up to the U.S.’ first Olympic game on July 21 against Italy.

Ranked first in the world, the reigning world champion U.S. team is expected to win gold in softball’s return to the Olympic program, but will face stiff competition from host nation and world No. 2 Japan. The U.S. won the sport’s first three Olympic titles before Japan claimed the latest in 2008.

The Reeds, both 28, met and began dating as student-athletes during their freshman year at the University of Oregon in 2011. They were married in November 2017.

“We knew what we were doing when we got married, and we both realized it’s not going to last forever,” Janie told TeamUSA.org in 2020. “It may seem like a long time sometimes when we haven’t seen each other for a month and a half, but there is going to be a time where one of us or both of us are done playing, and it’s going to feel like this time of our lives flew by. So we’re just trying to enjoy the moment.”

Outfielder Janie (née Takeda) has played with the national team since 2015, winning the 2016 and 2018 world titles in that time, plus the 2019 Pan American Games.

Jake played six seasons bouncing around minor league teams under the Minnesota Twins organization after he was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. He then played for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, part of the Los Angeles Angels, from November 2020 through June 2021.

Just over a month ago, Jake signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers and recorded a 2.61 ERA with 11 strikeouts in nine games for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.

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Israel’s first Olympic baseball team is led by an All-Star and the sport’s second-oldest player

2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifer 1- Game 1, South Africa vs. Israel
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The Israeli baseball team will make its Olympic debut later this month, headlined by four-time All-Star Ian Kinsler.

He is one of eight players on the 24-man team with Major League Baseball experience.

The 39-year-old, who made his All-Star appearances between 2008 and 2014, won the 2018 World Series with the Boston Red Sox. He also was on the U.S. team that won the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Kinsler, whose father is Jewish, became an Israeli citizen in March 2020; he is currently second baseman for the ALPB Long Island Ducks and a front-office advisor for the San Diego Padres.

Israel became a phenom on the international baseball stage in 2017. Ranked 41st in the world, the team finished sixth at its first World Baseball Classic appearance, then just missed the medal stand at its inaugural European Championships in 2019.

Israel then went on to take down the top-three teams from that event en route to winning the Africa/Europe Olympic qualifying tournament in September 2020.

This summer marks baseball’s sixth time on the Olympic program, though first since 2008, and is the first time Israel has qualified.

While Kinsler is the player with the most professional experience, it is pitcher Shlomo Lipetz who will likely be considered the leader of the team. The 42-year-old considers himself part of Israel’s first generation of baseball players and, born and raised in Tel Aviv, has helped build the national team program.

Only one Olympic baseball player has been older than Lipetz: Alan Phillips, who represented South Africa at age 44 in 2000.

In addition to his baseball career, Lipetz is currently the vice president of programming at New York’s City Winery.

Kinsler is joined in the infield by Scott Burcham, Ty Kelly, Zack Penprase and Danny Valencia.

Blake Gailen, Mitch Glaser, Assaf Lowengart and Robb Paller will man the outfield.

The catchers are Tal Erel, Ryan Lavarnway and Nick Rickles, and the pitching staff includes Jeremy Bleich, Jonathan DeMarte, Jake Fishman, Alex Katz, Jared Lakind, Alon Leichman, Lipetz, Jon Moscot, Joey Wegman, Ben Wanger, Zack Weiss and Josh Zeid.

Bleich, Kelly, Kinsler, Lavarnway, Moscot, Valencia, Weiss and Zeid have all played in the MLB.

Ten of the players represented Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Team Israel is coached by Eric Holtz, who has managed the national team since late 2017.

Olympic baseball play begins Wednesday, July 28. Israel plays South Korea on July 29 and the U.S. July 30 in Group B.

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