Two Cuban-American players in the US team heading to Tokyo

For the first time, Cuban baseball will be out of the Olympic Games, however, Cuban blood will go to Tokyo, after the official US roster that will participate in the summer Olympic event was announced this Friday.

Fourteen players with major league experience make up the Stars and Stripes team, which is the favorite to prevail in Olympic baseball. Two Cuban Americans earned the right to be part of that select group, Nick Martínez and Eddy Álvarez.

Martinez, 30, has extensive experience in the Major Leagues, Minor Leagues, as well as the Professional Leagues of Japan and the Dominican Republic.

He pitched 4 seasons for the Texas Rangers, from 2014 to 2017. He won in the majors 17 games, lost 30 and his ERA was 4.77.

In the Minor Leagues, his record was 35-33 with an ERA of 3.28, while with the Toros del Este team in the Dominican Republic, he had an identical 3-3 record and an excellent 2.53 ERA.

In Japan, Martínez (1.85 meters tall and 91 kilos of body weight) in 4 seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters and Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks teams, was successful in 17 games and lost 20, with a 3.54 ERA.

With the SoftBank team Nick met 4 other Cuban players, Liván Moinelo, Alfredo Despaigne, Yurisbel Gracial and left-handed pitcher Ariel Miranda, who won 13 and lost 9 in the Major Leagues with the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners.

For his part, Álvarez, 31, of Miami, Florida, began playing in the Arizona Development League. He was a member of teams of all levels in the Minor League. In 2020, he played 12 major league games with the Miami Marlins team.

Álvarez earned his place on the US roster after doing an excellent job in the pre-Olympic tournament that the US team won last June.

On Team USA there are two pitchers who won MLB World Series, David Robertson and Edwin Jackson. In total, of the 24 players selected, there are 14 who played at least one major league season.

The manager will be Mike Sciocia. As a player he won two World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1981-1988), while as a manager he led the Los Angeles Angels to conquer the October classic in 2002, after defeating the San Francisco Giants (in that Series Cuban Liván Hernández lost 2 of 4 games with San Francisco).

US roster for Tokyo

Receivers: Tim Federowics and Mark Kolozsvary., Infielders: Eddy Álvarez, Nick Allen, Triston Casas, Jamie Westbrook and Todd Frazier.

Gardeners : Bubba Starling, Tyler Austin, Jack Lopez, Eric Fillia and Patrick Kivlehan. Pitchers: Nick Martinez, Shane Baz, Anthony Carter, Anthony Gose, Brandon Dickson, Edwin Jackson, Scott Kazmir, Scott McGough, David Robertson, Joe Ryan, Ryder Ryan, and Simeon Woods Richardson.

The United States will have their first game on Friday, July 30, against Team Israel. The other national teams that will take part in Tokyo are Mexico, South Korea, the Dominican Republic and the host country, Japan. The favorites for gold are the US, the Dominican Republic and Japan.

So far, the Olympic monarchs of baseball have been Cuba, in Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004: the USA, in Sydney 2000, and South Korea, in Beijing 2008.