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03/24/2011 10:06 AM ET
Major League Baseball to debut El Torneo Supremo
"Supreme Tournament" designed to provide prospects with opportunities to showcase talent
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Major League Baseball today announced a new venture designed to showcase top prospects in the Dominican Republic. El Torneo Supremo ("The Supreme Tournament"), which will launch during the week of April 11th, aims to maximize the ability of Major League Baseball organizations to scout in the Dominican Republic and provide unsigned prospects both with resources to enhance their game skills and a venue to showcase their talents. Tournament participants will also be provided in-classroom education opportunities.

El Torneo Supremo will consist of four teams playing one game per week in addition to a mid-tournament All-Star event, as well as championship and consolation games. The tournament will provide resources intended to help prospects prepare for a career on the field and life skills off the field. In addition to the educational opportunities, prospects and their trainers will be invited to clinics and workshops on topics such as physical conditioning and the potential transition to professional baseball.

"El Torneo Supremo will increase the exposure given to young men who are aspiring to professional baseball careers and will broaden their skills beyond the diamond," said Jorge Perez-Diaz, head of Latin American Oversight for Major League Baseball. "This event will help the Dominican Republic continue to play a vital role in international player development, while also providing Major League Clubs with a new outlet for scouting."

The tournament staff has decades of combined experience playing, coaching, and managing professional baseball. Longtime Major League player Moises Alou will serve as the Tournament Director. Alou was a six-time All-Star in his 17-year Major League career, during which he hit .303 with 332 home runs and 1,287 RBI. In 1994 with the Montreal Expos and in 1998 with the Houston Astros, Alou finished third in the balloting for National League Most Valuable Player honors. Alou, who went to high school in Santo Domingo, helped the Marlins win the 1997 World Series, batting .292 with 23 home runs and 115 RBI in the regular season and then hitting three homers and collecting nine RBI in their seven-game triumph in the Fall Classic. Moises is the son of longtime Major League player and manager Felipe Alou and the nephew of Felipe's brothers Jesus and Matty Alou.

The Tournament managers will be former Major League players Juan Bell and Nelson Norman and former Minor League players Jorge Meran and Nelson Silverio. Norman is a former Major League coach and Minor League manager, and Silverio served as a coach for the Dominican Republic in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Rounding out the tournament staff will be a pair of former Major League pitchers, Mel Rojas and Bienvenido "Ben" Rivera, who will serve as the event's Pitching Coordinators.

"El Torneo Supremo has the potential to help many young Dominican players," Alou said. "I care about the image of the Dominican player, and I want to help improve it. In addition to the 15 and 16-year-old prospects, I want to help older players get the opportunity to showcase their talents."

The Dominican Republic produces more Major League Baseball players than any other country outside of the United States. Among the 2010 Opening Day Rosters and disabled lists, 86 players were born in the Dominican Republic, comprising 10.3 percent of all Major League Baseball players.

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