The USA Baseball roster headed to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics will have feature a local flavor after a pair of Western Pennsylvania natives landed roster spots. 33-year old catcher Tim Federowicz of Erie and 31-year old right-handed pitcher Scott McDough of Monroeville will represent the United States alongside 22 other professional American players, who will be managed by former World Champion skipper Mike Scioscia.
The team that will bring home Olympic gold #ForGlory🇺🇸
— USA Baseball (@USABaseball) July 2, 2021
The motley contingent headed to Japan this month consists of former Major League regulars, a few of today’s top minor league prospects and professional journeymen who have split their careers between the majors, minors and international leagues in Japan and Mexico.
Federowicz, who played his college ball at North Carolina before being drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 Draft by Boston, is one of two catchers the Americans will bring to Tokyo and the only one with Major League experience.
— Tim Federowicz (@FedX19) July 2, 2021
He’s made 163 appearances over eight seasons in the big leagues with San Francisco, Houston, Cincinnati, Texas, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs during which he collected 78 hits, 39 RBIs, 25 walks and 12 home runs.
Federowicz only managed to average .197 at the plate, but his defense in the majors has been solid. His career fielding percentage of .985 would rank below league average in 2021, but the 31% caught stealing rate would be well above this year’s MLB mean of 25%.
He’s been a much more productive minor league hitter. Federowicz slugged .805 and drove in 503 runs during 13 seasons in the minors. He is currently playing for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers.
McGough, a Plum High School alum, will not need to travel far to meet up with his Olympic teammates. He is in the middle of a strong season for the Yakult Swallows, a Tokyo-based club that competes in the Japanese Central League.
McGough’s 1.77 ERA this season is the ninth-best in the JCL and his sub-one WHIP is good for seventh in the league. He’s achieved such heights by virtue of excellent command. McGough is punching out batters at a rate of 13.1 per nine innings and owns a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5.20.
After he was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 46th round of the 2008 draft McGough opted to honor his commitment to the University of Oregon, where he played for three years as a Duck. It proved to be the right decision. In 2011 he was selected in the fifth round by the Dodgers.
But McGough never quite caught on in the MLB. He spent seven years navigating the Dodgers, Marlins, Orioles and Rockies’ farm systems and frequently moved up and down between Single- and Triple-A. He made just six appearances in the majors for Miami in 2015 and allowed seven earned runs in just 6 ⅔ innings.
McGough has since found his footing in Japan. He spent a brief and unsuccessful stint with Mexicali of the Mexican Pacific Winter League before settling in with the Swallows in 2019, where he has been ever since.
Neither McGough nor Federowicz made appearances during the Olympic qualifiers. Federowicz was on the roster and McGough was not.
The United States will begin Pool B play vs. Israel at the Yokohama Baseball Stadium on July 30. First pitch is scheduled for 8 a.m. A television designation for each game of the Olympic baseball tournament will be announced closer to the start of the games.