The Latin America scouts for the New York Yankees have made a visit to the northern Colombian state of La Guajira to seek out young recruits to the big leagues, local media reported on Tuesday.
The Yankees talent scout Cesar Julio Suarez and trainer Luis Sierra Llamas traveled to the town of Hatonuevo, in the country’s remote state of La Guajira, on Saturday to visit the Cerrejon Little League, a team sponsored by Latin America’s largest coal mining operation, reported El Heraldo.
Suarez said that he is visiting schools to watch the young players and select those eligible to come to the Yankees’ training center in the Dominican Republic, and then choose who will sign with the team.
“We’ve been in Colombia for nine days, and came to La Guajira to see how these kids run, throw and bat, so that we can possibly sign them with our organization,” said Suarez.
The program was designed to expand the practice of baseball in La Guajira, and provide opportunity for the young male athletes to improve their quality of life through sports, according to La Guajira Hoy news.
“There are some interesting young people in positions of pitcher and catcher,” explained Sierra Llamas, himself a former professional baseball player who hails from Barranquilla.
Martelo Bryan Martinez was the first player trained in La Guajira signed to minor league organization, the Philadelphia Phillies.
Although not native to La Guajira, other players such as Bijelic Mena De Avila from the Cleveland Indians, and Kevin Escorcia Torres from the Chicago White Sox lived and trained in the region before making a move to the US minor leagues.
“These achievements not only represent the dream of many young baseball players to reach the Major Leagues, but they ensure the sustainability of the Cerrejon program,” said Robinson Martelo, program director.