Record 102 players on Opening Day rosters are from Dominican Republic

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Major League Baseball released its annual demographic analysis of Opening Day rosters today. The survey revealed that out of 882 players on active rosters, the injured list and the restricted list, 251 were born outside of the United States. Among those, 102 were from the Dominican Republic.

That’s the first time there have been more than 100 players from a single country other than the United States in major league history. Due to the larger number of players counted, however, that falls just short of the highest percentage of Dominican-born players. This year it was 11.6 percent. In 2007, 99 of 849 players were from the Dominican Republic, putting the figure at 11.7 percent.

The total of international players is the third highest behind 2017, when there were 259 players from outside the U.S., and last year, when there were 254. The 28.5 percent figure is down from 29 percent last year and is the fifth highest ever. The record was set in 2018 with 29.8 percent.

Overall, there were players from 20 countries on Opening Day rosters. After the United States and the Dominican Republic came Venezuela (68), Cuba (19), Puerto Rico (18), Mexico (eight), Japan and Canada (six each), Curacao and South Korea (five each), and Colombia (four). Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Taiwan and the U.S. Virgin Islands have one player each. Word on the street is that Hunter Pence is from Mars, but he was naturalized in 2007 and thus is counted as American, but I don’t put stock in rumors.

The Minnesota Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates have the most international-born players, with 14 each, followed by the Chicago White Sox with 13 and the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays with 11 apiece.

Viva the national international pastime.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

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SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.