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National pastime takes on international flavor

4/3/2007 - MLB

NEW YORK -- The percentage of Major League Baseball players
born outside the 50 states increased slightly to a near record
level.

Of the 849 players on rosters at the start of the season, 246
were born outside the 50 states, the commissioner's office said
Tuesday. That comes to 29 percent, up from 27.4 percent last year
and near the record 29.2 percent set in 2005.

The Dominican Republic had the most non-U.S. players with 98,
followed by Venezuela (51), Puerto Rico (28), Canada (19), Japan
and Mexico (13 each), Panama (seven), Cuba (six), South Korea
(three), Colombia and Taiwan (two apiece), and Aruba, Australia,
Curacao and Nicaragua (one apiece).

The New York Mets (15) had the most foreign-born players for the
second straight year and were followed by the New York Yankees (13)
and Boston, Minnesota and Seattle (12).

There were 3,098 of 6,701 minor leaguers born outside the 50
states, with the percentage rising to 46.2 percent from 45.1 last
year.

The pool included players on Opening Day rosters and disabled
lists, suspended New York Mets reliever Guillermo Mota and two
players called up before Monday's openers, Cincinnati Reds pitcher
Victor Santos and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Joe Bisenius.