First decrease in seven seasons


NEW YORK -- The percentage of major leaguers born outside
the 50 states declined slightly to 27.3 percent after six straight
seasons of increases.

Of the 830 players on rosters and disabled lists as on Sunday,
227 were born outside the 50 states, the commissioner's office said
Thursday. That was down from 230 players (27.8 percent) last year.

Seventy-nine players were born in the Dominican Republic, 45 in
Venezuela and 36 in Puerto Rico. Mexico had 16, followed by Canada
(11), Japan (10), Cuba (9), Panama (six), Australia and South Korea
(four each), Colombia (three) and the Netherlands Antilles (two).

Aruba (Sidney Ponson) and the Nicaragua Antilles (Vicente
Padilla) had one player each.

The Los Angeles Dodgers led with foreign-born 14 players,
followed by the the New York Yankees with 13.

While opening-day rosters were used by the commissioner's office
in 2003, the 2004 survey included several roster moves made on the
first day of the season, such as the Dodgers bringing up Jose Lima
from the minors.

Of the 6,117 players signed to minor league contracts as of
Sunday, 47.6 percent were born outside the 50 states, up from 46.0
percent last year. The Dominican Republic led with 1,442, followed
by Venezuela (803), Puerto Rico (127), Canada (106) and Mexico