Barry Larkin will coach at european baseball academy

8 Agosto 2007

Barry Larkin to join All-Star coaching staff at European Baseball Academy

MLB International to conduct third annual academy for elite amateur players from Europe and Africa

Former Cincinnati Reds All-Star shortstop Barry Larkin will join the coaching staff at the third annual Major League Baseball International (MLBI) European Baseball Academy from August 9 – 30 in Tirrenia, Italy, it was announced today. This year’s Academy, held at the Italian National Olympic Training Center, will provide major league instruction to players from 17 countries throughout Europe and Africa.

The European Baseball Academy will feature 55 of the best young players aged 15-to-20 from 13 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom) and four African nations (Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda). Participants, all National or Junior National Team players, were selected by the Major League Scouting Bureau after undergoing tryouts across Europe in April.

“The European Baseball Academy provides a single location in Europe for elite ballplayers to develop their skills under expert major league instruction and gain unprecedented exposure to talent evaluators representing MLB organizations,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business Operations, Major League Baseball. “The addition of an accomplished professional and high-quality individual like Barry Larkin enhances the profile of the Academy and strengthens what is already an enormously talented and experienced major league coaching staff.”

Barry Larkin, who joins the Academy coaching staff for the first time this year, will serve as Lead Infield Instructor. The 12-time All-Star spent his entire 19-year career (1986-2004) with the Cincinnati Reds, capturing the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1995. Considered one of the greatest shortstops of his era, Larkin is widely-respected off the field as well, winning the Roberto Clemente Award for service to the community in 1993. Currently, Larkin serves as a Special Assistant to the General Manager with the Washington Nationals.

Larkin will be joined at the European Baseball Academy by a coaching staff with decades of major league playing, coaching and managerial experience, including: Jim Lefebvre – Head Coach and Lead Hitting Instructor; Bruce Hurst – Lead Pitching Instructor; Lee Smith – Pitching Instructor; Bob Didier – Catching Instructor; John Cangelosi – Outfield and Baserunning Instructor; and German Geigel – Outfield and Baserunning Instructor. The Academy staff also includes Jeff Krushell (Head of Strength and Conditioning), Paul Spicuzza (Head Trainer) and Nick Leto (Clubhouse/Equipment Manager).

Over the past two years, 13 European Baseball Academy alumni have signed contracts with Major League organizations, most recently French catcher Frederic Hanvi with the Minnesota Twins and German outfielder Donald Lutz with the Cincinnati Reds. Joris Bert, from Paris, France, became the first European Baseball Academy graduate selected in the First-Year Player Draft when he was chosen by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 19th round this past June. (See below for a complete list of European Baseball Academy players signed by MLB organizations.)

MLBI Academies, also held in Queensland, Australia (est. 2001) and Wuxi, China (est. 2007), are designed to provide promising junior players with both the environment and instruction to improve their skills in preparation for the rigors of professional and international baseball through four key areas: baseball skills development, physical development, personal development and coaching development. To complement the program, select coaches from European and African Baseball Federations have been invited to train alongside the MLB coaching staff during one-week placements at this year’s Academy. Additionally, MLB field staff will conduct a youth clinic for U.S. Army children stationed at nearby Camp Darby. At the Academy’s conclusion, the baseball equipment used will be donated to participating federations in order to continue the development of baseball throughout Europe and Africa.

To date, 13 MLBI European Baseball Academy graduates have signed professional contracts with MLB organizations:

Player Position Academy Year(s) Country Club
Alex Liddi Third Base 2005 Italy Seattle Mariners
Alessandro Maestri Pitcher 2005 Italy Chicago Cubs
Kalian Sams Outfield 2005 Netherlands Seattle Mariners
Jacob Toufar Pitcher 2005 Czech Republic Minnesota Twins
Jakub Hajtmar Pitcher 2005, ’06 Czech Republic Minnesota Twins
Rodney Gessman Pitcher 2005, ’06 Germany Minnesota Twins
Tom Stuifbergen Pitcher 2005, ’06 Netherlands Minnesota Twins
Petr Cech Catcher 2006 Czech Republic Cincinnati Reds
Mauro Schiavoni Catcher 2005, ’06 Italy Cincinnati Reds
Ramon Romeijn Pitcher 2006 Netherlands Seattle Mariners
Joris Bert Outfield 2005, ’06 France Los Angeles Dodgers
Donald Lutz Outfield 2006, ’07 Germany Cincinnati Reds
Frederic Hanvi Catcher 2006, ’07 France Minnesota Twins

About MLB International
Major League Baseball International (MLBI) focuses on the worldwide growth of baseball and the promotion of Major League Baseball and MLB Club trademarks and copyrights through special events, broadcasting, market development, licensing and sponsorship initiatives. MLBI is committed to showcasing the world’s best baseball talent through international events around the globe. Broadcast in 229 countries and territories, Major League Baseball game telecasts are re-transmitted in 13 different languages. MLBI executes and supports game development programs targeting players and coaches from grassroots to elite levels. With an extensive list of marketing partners worldwide, MLBI continues to grow its position as a leader in the international marketplace. MLBI is supported in its mission through presences in Beijing, New York, London, Sydney and Tokyo.