mlb 08/18/08 11:45 AM ET Lisa Winston is a reporter or]]> While Team USA has been getting the bulk of whatever bit of the Summer Olympic spotlight has been afforded to baseball, the 24 players on that squad are not the only prospects playing for national honor in Beijing.

Team Canada has always sported an intriguing mix of professional players from across the board, ranging from top prospects to big league veterans to players no longer in affiliated ball. It also features the unusual case of second baseman Stubby Clapp, the hitting coach for Class A Lexington in the Houston organization, who was allowed leave his job to play for his country.

The teams from Taiwan (or, as they call them in Beijing, Chinese Taipei) and the Netherlands also boast several Minor League prospects.

Here is a look at a few more players, most of them foreign-born, who could be making some big league noise before long:

In the bigs

No prominent international almost-Olympians fit the bill here. Team Canada lost one of its pitchers, Scott Richmond, to the Blue Jays right before it left to train in Durham, N.C., though he was sent back to the Minors last week. And perhaps switch-hitting catcher Pablo Sandoval wouldn't be in San Francisco if his native Venezuela had a team playing in the Summer Games, but that's for another story.

So, we'll start the package with an almost member of Team USA in shortstop Cliff Pennington, who made his big league debut last week. A first-round pick by the A's out of Texas A&M in 2005, Pennington represented his country in the recent All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium and was on the short list to make the Olympic team. He wasn't named to the final roster, however, and we may never know if it was because Oakland already had big league plans for him.

Pennington made his Major League debut at third base in a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay on Aug. 12. That start was especially noteworthy, as it was just the fourth time in his professional career that Pennington appeared at third base. He's played four games at the hot corner and one at shortstop so far, and he finally collected his first big league hit on Sunday.

The 24-year-old switch-hitter started the year at Double-A Midland before moving up to join the River Cats for his Triple-A debut, hitting a combined .280 with 31 steals across the two stops. Pennington possesses good plate discipline, but he isn't going to hit for much power in the bigs. With his speed, he'll be of most use to fantasy owners if he sticks in the middle infield somewhere.

A phone call away

Before long, Team Canada's Michael Saunders could see time in Seattle, where he will no doubt draw a cadre of friends and family across the border from Victoria, B.C. Just 21, the center fielder has been a big factor in the Canadians' quest for the '08 Olympics, as he hit .488 and earned team MVP honors in the 2006 qualifying tournament in spite of being the youngest player on the squad. Saunders, who also played for the World Team in the 2007 Futures Game, possesses a nice combination of power and speed. He started the year at Double-A West Tenn, where he hit .290 with eight homers, 30 RBIs and 11 steals before moving up to Triple-A Tacoma. At Class A Advanced High Desert in 2007, he hit .299 with 14 homers, 77 RBIs and 27 steals. Saunders opted for baseball over a possible future in the NHL.

Right-hander Shairon Martis, 21, could very well join the Nationals soon after his return from China, where the Curacao native is pitching for the Netherlands' Olympic squad. He's already made an impression in international competition with his seven-inning no-hitter against Panama in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Martis, who was acquired from the Giants in mid-2006 for reliever Mike Stanton, has moved up this season from Double-A Harrisburg to Triple-A Columbus, and he had a 3.28 ERA over six games in his Triple-A debut before joining his fellow countrymen. He also closed out the World Team's win in the Futures Game this summer.

A year away

Along with Martis, Nationals fans can also look forward to the eventual arrival of versatile Matt Rogelstad, who has started in the outfield as well as at all four infield positions for Team Canada. The 25-year-old British Columbia native, who was drafted by the Mariners out of Arkansas State in 2003, was signed by Washington prior to the 2007 season and earned the Class A Advanced Potomac Player of the Year Award that summer. He began the '08 season with Potomac and helped lead the team to the first-half North Division title and a shot at its first Carolina League title since 1989 before earning a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg. A .285 hitter over five pro seasons entering the year, he batted .311 in 14 games for the Senators before leaving to join the Canadian squad.

Yet another British Columbia native on Team Canada is outfielder Jimmy Van Ostrand, who was drafted by Houston in the eighth round out of Cal Poly in 2006. A 2007 Futures Game participant, he batted .306 with seven homers and 60 RBIs at Class A Advanced Salem before the Olympics. He also participated in the Carolina-California League All-Star Game.

Down the road

The Milwaukee Brewers inked Brett Lawrie just before he left for Beijing with Team Canada, so he officially counts as a "professional" even though his pro debut is still ahead of him. The powerful 18-year-old backstop hit .469 in the World Junior Championships this summer, and the Brewers have to be happy that their 2008 first-round pick was at least able to enjoy some high-level experience while he waited to sign.

You weren't alone if you had never heard of Taiwan-born outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin before mid-July. The Red Sox farmhand earned plenty of attention for his performance in the Futures Game, however, going deep on the first pitch he saw from Rockies pitcher Ryan Mattheus to earn MVP honors in the World Team's 3-0 victory. Prior to the Olympics, he hit .249 with five homers, 37 RBIs and 33 steals for Class A Greenville. Signed in June 2007 out of high school, he is a fine defensive center fielder with a strong arm, a live bat and good speed.

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