Durazo returns to D-backs as special advisor

Hired to help cultivate organization's presence in native Mexico

Durazo returns to D-backs as special advisor

PHOENIX -- Erubiel Durazo, who played for the D-backs from 1999-2002, is returning to the organization as a special advisor to team president and CEO Derrick Hall regarding the club's outreach efforts in Mexico, a newly created position.

Durazo, who was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, was initially acquired by the D-backs from the Monterrey Sultans in December 1998.

The left-handed-hitting first baseman posted a 1.015 on-base plus slugging mark in 185 plate appearances for the D-backs in 1999.

As a backup to first baseman Mark Grace in 2001, Durazo had a .909 OPS in 207 plate appearances and hit .364 in the World Series as the D-backs beat the Yankees. The following year, he was even better, with a .944 OPS in 276 plate appearances.

"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."

Durazo finished his big league career with 94 home runs, the fourth-highest total among Mexican-born players.

The D-backs also added Francisco Cartaya as coordinator of Latin America and Rodrigo "Chapo" Aguirre as a scout in Mexico.

"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," Hall said.

Since being awarded a franchise in 1995, the D-backs have worked to grow a fan base in Mexico. This past spring, the team played an exhibition game in Hermosillo, the 10th time it had done so. The organization has also made nine visits during the past three years to Hermosillo.

The team will officially announce Durazo's hiring in Hermosillo on Friday with Hall, special assistant Luis Gonzalez, senior vice presidents De Jon Watson and Josh Rawitch and Spanish-language broadcasters Richard Saenz and Oscar Soria.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.