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D-backs break ground on Dominican baseball development academy

Rendering of the D-backs' Dominican Republic facility (Courtesy Arizona Diamondbacks)

The Arizona Diamondbacks broke ground on a new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday with a ceremony attended by team brass and the country’s president, Danilo Medina Sanchez.

The multi-million dollar complex called Las Américas will be ready for the 2020 Dominican Summer League and will include dormitories, three full fields, a classroom and an auditorium. It will occupy the same piece of land the team formerly shared with the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies from 1996-2003.

“There’s a lot of competition now for kids to pick and choose where they want to go play, so we certainly want them to come to us,” Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Wednesday.

“We want them to play baseball, but we’re also committed to providing them with as good an education as possible there in the Dominican,” Hall added. “You’re talking about big dormitory space, recreational space. They live there, so it’s not only their home — it’s also their classroom, it’s their recreation (space) and so we want to make it as comfortable as possible.”

Arizona broke ground on the project along with Medina, the Boca Chica mayor, Hall and former players Luis Gonzalez and Miguel Montero.

The space will house up to 100 players and can support up to 150 people, including support staff.

“This is where bonds are built … their goal is to get there to the United States. But while they’re there, we want to make sure their family knows that they’re safe and that they’re well-provided for,” Hall said.

“It was exciting to have the president of the country there at the dais with us and some of the ministers there as well. To see the excitement on their faces when they looked at the renderings and saw the location where we were building was phenomenal.”

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