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Breakthrough Series to expand to four sites

Events will be held in Bradenton, Fla., Brooklyn, N.Y., Compton, Calif., Cincinnati

Major League Baseball's Breakthrough Series, an event that allows a wide-ranging group of some of the nation's top high school baseball players to play in front of pro scouts and college recruiters, will expand to four locations this season.

More than 200 players will participate in the showcase, which will now be held from July 19-28 in Bradenton, Fla., Brooklyn, N.Y., Compton, Calif., and Cincinnati. It will be the largest talent pool in the event's seven-year history. The Compton and Cincinnati locations will be at Urban Youth Academies, while the Brooklyn location is home to the Mets' Class A affiliate, and the Bradenton venue is the Pirates' Spring Training home.

"Major League Baseball is proud to team with USA Baseball in extending this opportunity to even more talented young players for them to demonstrate their abilities," MLB executive vice president of baseball development Frank Robinson said in a statement. "The Breakthrough Series is a great tool for making sure kids who might have not been scouted or recruited are exposed to decision-makers at the next level. We are looking forward to giving them the chance to take this important step."

The cost-free, invitation-only event previously featured 60-80 players in one location. It is made up primarily of African-American athletes, and is a joint effort between Major League Baseball and USA Baseball to "promote baseball as a viable collegiate and professional option for urban youth, especially those from underserved communities."

Nearly 90 former Breakthrough Series participants have gone on to be selected in the First-Year Player Draft, including 43 during the past two years.

"USA Baseball is excited to partner with Major League Baseball on the Breakthrough Series for the seventh consecutive year," USA Baseball CEO Paul Seiler said in a statement. "This event is a result of USA Baseball's and MLB's mission to provide great exposure and opportunity for athletes from urban areas and grow the game of baseball throughout the United States at all levels."

The showcase will include a workout day and doubleheader at each location. Athletes will also receive presentations from current and former Major Leaguers, scouts, college administrators and umpires to help prepare them for the collegiate and professional recruiting process and to teach them about the baseball industry.

Joey Nowak is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak.