Olympic baseball qualifying in West Palm Beach, St. Lucie

·2 min read

The United States' delayed second chance at qualifying for the Olympic baseball tournament has been moved to the spring training home of the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals and the exhibition ballpark of the New York Mets.

The Baseball Americas Qualifier will be played on the east coast of Florida in West Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie from May 31 to June 5, the World Baseball Softball Confederation said Tuesday.

The tournament originally was scheduled for March 22-26, 2020, in Surprise and Tempe, Arizona, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia will attempt to qualify the U.S. for the Olympics with a yet-to-be-announced roster of minor leaguers and released players. Only players not on 26-man major league rosters and injured lists will be eligible.

Scioscia is the third U.S. manager this Olympic cycle following Joe Girardi and Scott Brosius.

The U.S. plays the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Nicaragua in Group A, and the top two teams advance to the super round along with two teams from Group B, which includes Canada, Colombia, Cuba and Venezuela. The top team from the super round joins Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea at the Olympic baseball tournament, to be played from July 28 to Aug. 7 in Fukushima and Yokohama.

Second- and third-place teams advance to a final qualifier in June in Taiwan, which will include Australia, China, Netherlands and Taiwan.

The U.S. was three outs from qualifying for the Olympics in November 2019 at the Premier12 tournament in Tokyo when it wasted a ninth-inning lead and lost to Mexico 3-2 in 10 innings.

Baseball is returning to the Olympics after being dropped for 2012 and 2016. Cuba won the gold medal in 1992, 1996 and 2004, the United States in 2000 and South Korea in 2008.

Baseball is likely to be dropped for the 2024 Olympics in Paris and then restored again for 2028 in Los Angeles.

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The Associated Press