Opening Day rosters reflect global growth

Opening Day rosters reflect global growth

Opening Day rosters reflect global growth
This week's set of Opening Day 25-man rosters and inactive lists features 243 players born outside the United States, the third-highest percentage of all-time and an increase from the past two seasons, Major League Baseball announced Thursday.

The figure -- 28.4 percent -- is up from 27.7 percent in 2010 and '11.

The 243 international players (out of 856 total players -- 749 on active 25-man rosters and 107 on disabled or restricted lists) hail from 15 countries and territories outside the U.S. The percentage is just slightly lower than the record set in 2005 (29.2 percent), and in '07 (29 percent).

The Royals have the most international players (13), followed by the Rockies and Yankees, who each have 12. New York has players from seven countries and territories outside the U.S.

The Dominican Republic again leads the big leagues with 95 players born outside the U.S., the second most the nation has produced on Opening Day rosters, behind only 99 in 2007. Venezuela boasts 66 players, its highest total for an Opening Day.

Canada (15) ranks third, followed by Japan (13), Cuba (11), Puerto Rico (11), Mexico (nine), Panama (seven), Curacao (four), Australia (four), Nicaragua (three), Taiwan (two), Colombia (one), Italy (one) and South Korea (one).

It's the most Nicaraguan-born players since MLB began releasing the data in 1995, while Cuba matched its high, previously set in 2002 and matched last season, and Curacao tied its high, set in '09.

Infielder Alex Liddi made the Mariners' Opening Day roster, becoming the first Italian-born and developed player in Major League history. He's the first alumnus of the MLB International European Academy, which was established in 2005, to make an Opening Day roster.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.‬ This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.