Pitcher Jason Marquis, who started his major-league career with the Braves in 2000 after being drafted out of high school by the team in the first round in 1996; first baseman Nate Freiman, who signed with the Braves in December and went to spring training with them but was traded to Washington on March 27; and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who played with the Braves and their Gwinnett AAA affiliate last year and the start of this year, are on the 28-man roster Team Israel announced Friday, Aug. 26.
Marquis, 38, hasn’t played since Cincinnati released him in May last year. Freiman, 29, who starred for Israel in its unsuccessful qualifying tournament four years ago and played for the Oakland A’s the past two years, is with the Boston Red Sox’s AA minor-league team in Portland, Maine, after being released by the Nationals and spending time with an independent team. Lavarnway, 29, whom the Braves released in May, is with Toronto’s AA team in New Hampshire.
Like most of the roster, Marquis, Freiman and Lavarnway are American Jews, not Israelis. Only two members of Team Israel are Israeli citizens: pitcher Shlomo Lipetz, 37, and Dodgers minor-league pitcher Dean Kremer, 20, who this year became the first Israeli chosen in the baseball draft.
Kremer is the youngest man on the roster; Marquis is the oldest.
Any player in the world who has at least one Jewish grandparent and isn’t playing for another nation is eligible for Team Israel.
According to Jewish Baseball News, Freiman, Lavarnway and Marquis are among nine players who have big-league experience; 20 of the 28 players are in the minor leagues now.
No current major-leaguers are on Team Israel, but Jewish players such as Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays, Joc Pederson of the Dodgers and Ian Kinsler of the Tigers could be added to the roster for the tournament in March if Israel qualifies.
Managed by Jerry Weinstein, Israel faces Great Britain, Brazil and Pakistan in the double-elimination qualifier Sept. 22 to 25 in Brooklyn, N.Y. None of the other teams has as many players in the official minor leagues as Israel does.
The full roster: pitchers Corey Baker, Jeremy Bleich, Craig Breslow, Brad Goldberg, Tyler Herron, Alex Katz, Dean Kremer, Jared Lakind, Shlomo Lipetz, Jason Marquis, Troy Neiman, R.C. Orlan, Ryan Sherriff, Joey Wagman and Josh Zeid; catchers Charlie Cutler, Ryan Lavarnway and Nick Rickles; infielders Scott Burcham, Ike Davis, Cody Decker, Nate Freiman, Ty Kelly and Josh Satin; and outfielders Zach Borenstein, Blake Gailen, Michael Meyers and Rhett Wiseman.