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Astros add second Dominican Summer League team

Houston GM Luhnow makes Alfonso international development coordinator

HOUSTON -- The Astros announced Tuesday they will be adding a second team to the Dominican Summer League, giving Houston nine Minor League affiliates.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow also announced Carlos Alfonso has been named international development coordinator and special assignment scout. Alfonso will be primarily responsible for integrating the Astros' Latin American development program and providing scouting support internationally.

Luhnow is currently in Santo Domingo with Astros international director Oz Ocampo, Minor League field coordinator Paul Runge, infield instructor and former Astros shortstop Adam Everett and hitting coordinator Jeff Albert.

"This investment is a reflection of the importance of our Latin American scouting and development program to the future success of the Astros," Luhnow said in a statement. "Oz and his team have done a great job of signing top young talent across Latin America and we want to provide them the opportunity to get the best development experience. Adding a second team along with the expertise of Carlos Alfonso will accelerate the development process."

Alfonso has close to 45 years of experience in professional baseball as an infielder, pitcher, coach, manager, director and more. Most recently, he served as the Tampa Bay Rays' director of international operations for eight seasons (2006-13).

He began his playing career in the Astros' Minor League system after being selected in the 10th round of the 1968 Draft. His playing career included stints as an infielder, but he was primarily a pitcher during his eight-year Minor League career. After his playing days, Alfonso had stints in the Astros' Minor League system as a manager, coach and Spring Training coordinator, and he later served as a coach on the San Francisco Giants' Major League staff as pitching coach in 1992 and first base coach from 1996-99.

The Astros have been training at their current Dominican Academy since its opening on May 10, 2010. A recent graduate from the academy is right-handed pitcher Jose Cisnero, who made his Major League debut for Houston in 2013.

"This year, we began training at the academy on Jan. 21, and many of our top prospects are already here, including Michael Feliz, Domingo Santana and Teoscar Hernandez," Ocampo said. "Many of our youngest players, including shortstop Joan Mauricio [17 years old], third baseman Wander Franco [17] and shortstop/center fielder Osvaldo Duarte [18] have shown considerable progress in less than a year, and that is a testament to the hard work of our scouting and player development staff."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
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