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The Associated Press
Puerto Rico Selected For Next Caribbean Series; MLB Contract At Issue
By LUIS VARELA
February 2, 2002
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Puerto Rico will host the 2003 Caribbean Series winter league baseball tournament, the Caribbean Baseball Confederation announced Saturday.
The confederation also said each team will be able to substitute or add as many as 25 players to its roster, instead of the 10 previously allowed.
The action came after Mexico's Tomato Growers added 11 reinforcements to its roster for this week's Caribbean Series. The confederation's general assembly decided Saturday to allow the changes without penalty while the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela were also permitted to make changes.
Each year, the winners from each of the four winter leagues bolster their rosters with top players from other teams, often including major leaguers.
Also, the association said it will hold a general assembly May 19 in Puerto Rico to discuss negotiations for a new labor contract with Major League Baseball, confederation president Juan Francisco Puello Herrera told The Associated Press. The current contract expires next year.
Caribbean clubs say major league teams forbid or restrict the participation of many Latin American players in regional baseball championships, as well as in the Caribbean Series.
The clubs also say too many U.S. ballplayers don't complete their winter league contracts and head north or are recalled before the local championships.
U.S. ballclubs often fear that prospects or players recovering from injuries will get hurt playing winter ball. Winter seasons begin just after the major league season ends, while the Caribbean Series concludes just days before most major league clubs start spring training.
The confederation presented its complaints Saturday to Luis Melendez and Miguel Martinez, representatives of the Major League Baseball commissioner's office.
Puerto Rican league president Enrique Cruz said the February 2003 Caribbean Series will be played in the San Juan suburb of Carolina.