Owens picked for Olympic qualifier
8/15/2006 (Source: Press & Sun Bulletin)
Binghamton Mets' closer Henry Owens has been selected to the USA Baseball Olympic Qualifying team. Owens was one of 24 players picked for the team that is scheduled to begin practice for the Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament this week in Florida. He's scheduled to fly to Florida on Wednesday morning.
"At first, I was reluctant to say yes right away," Owens said Monday night. "At the time (he was asked), we had a nice winning streak and obviously we're contending for the playoffs, and I feel obligated to this team.
"At the same time, opportunities like this to represent my country don't come by very often. It was a tough decision, but playing for Team USA is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Owens has been one of the most consistent players this season for the B-Mets, who are tied for the final Eastern League North Division playoff spot with 22 games left in the regular season. He has 19 saves in 21 opportunities and converted his first 18 save chances.
In 37 innings, he has 70 strikeouts and just 10 walks, and he has allowed just nine runs all season.
In July, Owens was called up to New York and made three appearances with the Mets. He pitched four innings and had a 9.00 ERA.
The Olympic qualifying tournament is scheduled to run in Havana, Cuba, from Aug. 25 through Sept. 6.
The top two teams at the tournament qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Team USA, which is being managed by former big league manager Davey Johnson, is comprised of minor league players who are not on a major league team's 25-man roster.