MLB says percentage of black players highest since 2012

The percentage of black players from the United States and Canada on opening-day active rosters rose to 8.4 percent, its highest level since at least 2012.

Major League Baseball attributed the increase at least partly to its efforts to increase baseball youth participation with programs that include Urban Youth Academies and Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI).

It’s been a huge investment for us, Renee Tirado, MLB’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said Monday. Obviously growing the game amongst our players is a priority, so that uptick has definitely been from a concerted effort.

About 150 players who attended the Compton Academy have been drafted and a dozen have reached the major leagues, including Aaron Hicks and Khris Davis. Pitcher Hunter Greene, selected by Cincinnati with the second overall pick in last year’s amateur draft, started at Compton when he was about 7.

We have all these players that have made it to the major leagues on our outfield wall at the Compton Academy, said former Los Angeles Angels general manager Tony Reagins, now MLB’s executive vice president of baseball and softball development.

Twenty percent of first-round draft picks from 2012-17 were African-American. In another effort to increase participation in more than a dozen youth programs, MLB launched a Play Ball initiative for young players three years ago, shortly after Rob Manfred succeeded Bud Selig as commissioner.

It’s translating, Tirado said, but it’s a marathon, not a race.

Mr. Kelly continues to make solid progress in his recovery from extensive surgery for his oral cancer, Urken said. He has been moved out of the intensive care unit and made that transition by walking, on his own, from the unit to the inpatient floor where he will continue the next phase of care. He is still several days away from resuming swallowing and taking nutrition by mouth.

Kelly, 58, underwent a 12-hour procedure March 28 to remove oral cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw. He was first diagnosed with cancer in his jaw in 2013, and had surgery, then underwent a second surgery in 2014 when doctors found the cancer had spread to his nasal cavities. He announced last month the cancer had returned.cardinals_130

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