They came from the land down under, to paraphrase the 80’s band, Men at Work. With Australia’s first game against Mexico the World Baseball less than a week away, these men are hard at work preparing for the first round of the. Speaking of hits, the hitting be the Aussies’ strong point, with three players who have League experience their lineup, and six players all with big league experience. This team is comprised of Australian players who currently play baseball, either their native land, the Minors — from Rookie ball to Triple-A — and the Majors. Australian baseball first put itself on the global map with players the ’90s, pioneers who made significant contributions the Majors, like pitcher Grahame and catcher Nilsson. After winning the 1999 Intercontinental Luke Willson Authentic Jersey Cup, Australia gave Cuba a run the 2004 Olympics, ultimately coming away with the silver medal. This time around, Australia’s offense begins with the speedy leadoff man Oeltjen, who spent the past two seasons at Triple-A and has 147 career professional stolen bases. The H & H Boys, Justin Huber and Harman, provide the Thunder from Down Under. Huber, who be the cleanup hitter Australia, has spent time with both the Royals and Padres over the past four seasons. He began the first four years of his Minor League career as All-Star catcher and has made the transition over the past four years as a first baseman and outfielder. He’s belted 110 career home runs the Minors. Harman be protection the lineup behind Huber. After making his first stop at -A Mark Glowinski Authentic Jersey last year and hitting 17 home runs and 56 RBIs for Reading, he skipped over Triple-A entirely, spending some time with the World Series champion Phillies. Chris Snelling the three-hole for Australia. If it were not for injuries, Snelling might already be a star the Majors. a decade the Minors, he has a career.305 average with 47 homeruns and 331 RBIs. He is a great contact hitter and has never struck out more than 63 times a. Over the past four seasons, Snelling has spent time with Seattle, Oakland and Philadelphia, not bad for a who has had 13 surgeries and 12 stints on the disabled list. one of the catchers on the club, help round out the bottom of the order. a 19th-round pick of the Tigers the 200 First-Year Player Draft, missed the 2008 due to injury after spending time at Triple-A for Toledo 2007. Luke Hughes who be near the top of the lineup, has also spent some time at Triple-A, finishing the with Rochester last year. After making the team as only a utilityman 2007 he worked his way up and attended his second straight Eastern League All-Star game for -A New Britain 2008, bringing home All-Star MVP honors. Another good contact man is Michael Collins, who has struck out just 312 times 555 career professional games. He has spent the past two seasons with -A Arkansas, and be valuable off the bench. This team also contains five other players who have had at least A-ball experience. The Australia pitching staff features three Leaguers. Moss signed as a non-drafted free agent with Atlanta 1993 and had a big year for the Braves 2002, going 12 with a 3 under Cox’s tutelage. 2003, he split time with the between the Giants and Orioles. Much has played on every level, from Rookie ball to the Majors, and has even played independent baseball with the Island Ducks and with Macon the Atlantic and Arizona-Mexico Leagues. Travis Blackley, another starter for Australia, spent time with Seattle 2004 and the Giants 2007. He has a career Minor League record of 60 with a 2003, Blackley went 17 with a 2 and was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Year, helping -A San, then a Mariners affiliate, to the Texas League title. The 17 victories were the most the Texas League since Jeff Reardon won 17 for the Kingsport Mets 1978. Injuries have slowed him down his career, and he missed the entire 2005 with two tears his labrum. Crawford and hot prospect Welch round out the starting rotation. Crawford, who also played for Australia the inaugural, is literally a world baseball player. He was born Alaska, lived Seattle as well as San when he was very, and moved to Australia when he was seven. Welch, after going 18 his first three pro seasons, had a breakout year for -A Huntsville the Southern League last, going 11 with a He is a great all-around athlete who also contributed eight hits and eight RBIs at the plate. The final big leaguer on this staff is Aussies setup man Thompson of the Angels. Thompson spent part of each of the past two seasons with the big club and posted a 23 the Minors, with 39 saves and a Another key contributor on the mound be Craig, who posted double digits wins during four of the past five seasons, including 13 victories the Pacific Coast League for Triple-A Tacoma 200With a decade of Minor League experience — half of it at the Triple-A level — has a career record of 87 with a 3 to go along with a near 3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and be a valuable asset to this team. The success of Australia’s players — 26 all have gone to the big leagues — is no fluke. Baseball was derived from the sport of cricket, of which Australia is one of the world’s powerhouse countries. With special advisors like Chili and Rod Carew, who often visit the baseball academy where a lot Australia’s top players were developed, as well as current coaches and, there is no telling how far this team with so much pride can go. Manager Jon Deeble, who guided the Australians to a Silver Medal the 2004 Olympics, said If we can keep this team together, I think you’ll some exciting things. Ira Liebman is the media liaison officer for Australia. This story was not subject to the approval of League Baseball or its clubs.