USF hosts major leaguers, Netherlands National Team

If last weekend wasn’t an indicator of what kind of baseball team USF has this year, the Bulls should get a better idea tonight when they host the Netherlands National Team, which features several big leaguers and ex-big leaguers.

Sidney Ponson, who has pitched in majors since 1998, is expected to start on the hill for the Netherlands.

“These guys are good,” said coach Lelo Prado. “These are the best players from that country. I’m just excited for our players. It’s a pretty good measuring stick.”

Also expected to be present is MLB outfielder Andruw Jones, who’s spent most of his ongoing 12-year career with the Atlanta Braves. 

The Netherlands will head to Puerto Rico for the start of the 2009 World Baseball Classic after its trip to Red McEwen Field.

The Bulls, meanwhile, will try to improve Tuesday before heading to Ft. Myers for four
non-conference games in the FGCU Classic this weekend. USF went 1-2 last weekend in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge.

“We did some good stuff (last weekend), but we have to build on it,” Prado said. “(The Netherlands) is a big game to see where we’re at.”

Last year, USF played the New York Yankees at Legends Field, their spring training facility, in a similar early season exhibition. The Bulls lost 11-4.

Prado said he’s hoping the Bulls will get to face the hometown team in the near future.

“We’re always looking,” he said. “Hopefully, we can eventually play the Rays.”