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China National Team to participate in Fall Instructional League09/22/2010 12:03 PM ET
Major League Baseball announced today that China's National Baseball Team will participate in the Fall Instructional League in Florida as the team continues to prepare for the Asia Games, which will be played in Guangzhou, China beginning November 13. The Chinese team's inclusion in the Fall Instructional League represents Major League Baseball's latest step in its ongoing support and development of baseball in China.
A delegation of 26 players, including several veterans of China's 2009 World Baseball Classic team, has arrived and is training at Vero Beach Sports Village through October 24th. Vero Beach Sports Village (VBSV), which is operated by Minor League Baseball, has previously hosted clubs from Asia on more than a dozen occasions since the early 1960s, when it was known as Dodgertown. Some of the other professional clubs to have trained there include the Yomiuri Giants, Chunichi Dragons and Osaka Buffaloes from Japan; the Samsung Lions and LG Twins from Korea; and the Sinon Bulls from Taiwan.
The China National Team will play a schedule of 12 exhibition games against MLB Instructional League programs followed by one exhibition game against the Canadian Junior National Team at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (The full schedule for the China National Team can be found below). Tom Lawless, who worked as a coach for China's National Team in 2007-08, will lead the squad, while former Major League pitcher Scott McGregor will serve as pitching coach.
Lawless, who managed the Lancaster Jethawks of the California League (Single-A, Houston) in 2010, had an eight-year playing career as an infielder for the Cincinnati Reds (1982, 1984), Montreal Expos (1984), St. Louis Cardinals (1985-88) and Toronto Blue Jays (1989-1990). Prior to 2010, Tom managed the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League (1994-96), the Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League (2000), the Fort Wayne Wizards of the Midwest League (2001), the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League (2003-04) and the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League (2009). In addition, Lawless served as an on-field operations assistant for the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in 2002 and as Baltimore's minor league roving infield/baserunning instructor from 2006 through 2008.
McGregor, who spent 13 seasons as a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles (1976-88), is in his ninth season as a pitching coach in the Orioles organization and second stint with the Aberdeen IronBirds of the New York-Penn League (2002, 2008-Present). Scott also served as pitching coach of the Frederick Keys (2003-05) and the Bowie Baysox of the Eastern League (2006-07). McGregor, who was named to the 1981 A.L. All-Star squad, went 138-108 with a 3.99 ERA in his 13 seasons and pitched a shutout in the clinching game of the 1983 World Series as Baltimore defeated Philadelphia, four games to one. The left-hander recorded nine consecutive seasons of 11 wins or more from 1978-86.
Major League Baseball, which established MLB China and opened an MLB office in Beijing in January 2007, has hosted the China team in either fall Instructional League, Minor League Spring Training or both each year since 2003, training previously in Peoria and Scottsdale, Arizona and Lakeland, Florida. The team played one game against each of the six teams in the Arizona Fall League in 2007 in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, becoming the first-ever international team to be invited to participate in the Arizona Fall League.
Since 2000, Major League Baseball International has sent more than 20 coaches to China to provide baseball instruction to players and coaches through free clinics in schools, baseball clubs and on open fields as part of the MLB Envoy Program. In November 2003, MLB signed a development agreement with the Chinese Baseball Association (CBA) to provide national team development; coaching development; umpire development; and youth initiatives. In March 2008, the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers played two Spring Training games at Wukesong Baseball Stadium in Beijing, marking the first time that MLB had played games in China.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.