Thu Apr 03 09:54am EDT
Of the 855 players on major-league active rosters and disabled lists to start the 2008 season, 28 percent were born outside the United States. The Dominican Republic (88) and Venezuela (52) are the top producers of foreign players. But the Reds' pipeline to Latin America dried up when Marge Schott pulled out in the 1980s.
The Reds have gotten players here and there. Jose Acevedo and Ray Olmedo were two. But Thursday, when Johnny Cueto starts against Arizona, the Reds hope it's the beginning of a new era. Cueto is the first player to be produced through the team's academy in the Dominican Republic.
Cueto, a 22-year-old right-hander, signed in March 2004 for $3,500. Three months later, the Reds drafted pitcher Homer Bailey in the first round and signed him for $2.3 million.