DURHAM, N.C. — Joe Girardi quit as manager of the US baseball team trying to qualify for the Olympics before it played a single game.
Girardi said on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) he is leaving to pursue a major league managing job. There are seven current openings.
He will be replaced by Scott Brosius, who had been slated to be Girardi’s bench coach. Brosius, the MVP of the 1998 World Series with the New York Yankees, became the senior director of baseball development for USA Baseball earlier this year.
Willie Randolph will shift from third base to bench coach, and Ernie Young from the first base coaching box to third.
The US will train from Oct. 21-28 at the Kansas City Royals’ complex in Surprise, Arizona, then start qualifying from Nov. 2-4 at Guadalajara, Mexico, as part of a group that includes the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Netherlands. The top two teams advance to a qualifying round in Tokyo from Nov. 11-16. The winner of that group advances to the six-nation Olympic field, which already includes host Japan and Israel, and the second- and third-place teams advance to another qualifying event.
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. Next year’s Olympic baseball tournament is to be played from July 29 to Aug. 8 at Fukushima and Yokohama, Japan, as part of the Tokyo Games.
Players on 40-man rosters are not eligible to play for the U.S. in qualifiers. The 28-man U.S. roster includes several top prospects, including Los Angeles Angels outfielder Joe Adell, Chicago White Sox infielder Andrew Vaughn and Atlanta Braves outfielder Drew Waters. Vaughn was the third overall pick in this year’s amateur draft.