The Arizona Diamondbacks announced they have named former D-backs first baseman Erubiel Durazo as Special Advisor on Mexico to President & CEO Derrick Hall. The team also announced the hiring of Francisco Cartaya as Coordinator of Latin America and Rodrigo "Chapo" Aguirre as a scout in Mexico.
"Erubiel was not only a key member of the 2001 World Championship team but arguably one of our franchise's most popular Mexican players ever and is extremely knowledgeable and well-connected in that country," said Hall. "He will provide us with great insight as we continue to strengthen relationships south of the border. Equally as important are the additions of Francisco and 'Chapo,' who will help us in our quest to identify top talent in Mexico and develop those players into future big league D-backs."
Durazo, 41, appeared in 287 games for the D-backs from 1999-2002, batting .278 with a .390 on-base percentage, .528 slugging percentage, 47 homers and 149 RBI. In a 7-year career that also included 3 seasons with Oakland, Durazo hit 94 home runs, the fourth-highest total all-time among Mexico-born players. The Pima Community College product had 4 hits in the 2001 World Series and a 2-out, 2-run homer off Tom Glavine in the deciding Game 5 of the NLCS that year to propel the D-backs to the Fall Classic.
The hiring of Durazo, Cartaya and Aguirre is yet another step in the D-backs' approach to growing their fan base and finding a talent pool throughout Mexico. Last season, the team played an exhibition game in Hermosillo, its 10th such contest in franchise history (1998-2003, '08-10, '15). The D-backs have hosted Mexican League teams 3 times at Chase Field and the World Baseball Classic twice (2006 & 2013). The team has made 9 visits during the past 3-plus years to Hermosillo, which is also home to Descubre Phoenix, a Mexico-based tourism outlet that sells tickets to D-backs games and other Phoenix-based events.
The D-backs have always had a strong relationship with Enrique Mazon and the Hermosillo Naranjeros, who play their home games at Estadio Sonora. The franchise consulted on the planning and construction of that ballpark, which includes several features that resemble the award-winning Spring Training home of the D-backs, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Hall, who sits on Major League Baseball's International Committee, will be joined in Hermosillo by Durazo, Special Assistant Luis Gonzalez, Sr. Vice Presidents De Jon Watson and Josh Rawitch and Spanish-language broadcasters Richard Saenz and Oscar Soria, who is the play-by-play announcer for the Naranjeros.