Alderson to oversee Dominican reforms for MLB

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former Major League Baseball executive vice president Sandy Alderson has been appointed to oversee the sport's effort to reform operations in the Dominican Republic, Commissioner Bud Selig said on Monday.

The Dominican Republic, which produced the most players on 2009 Opening Day rosters from outside the United States with 81, has had to deal with issues including underage signings, alleged skimming of bonus money for prospects and high rates of positive doping tests.

Alderson, a former general manager and club president of the Oakland Athletics and chief executive of the San Diego Padres, last year chaired a committee that evaluated operations of MLB's 30 clubs in the Dominican Republic.

"Major League Baseball faces significant issues there, but all of them can be resolved favorably through the cooperative efforts of the Office of the Commissioner, the Major League clubs and the government and the people of the Dominican Republic," Alderson said in a statement.

A year ago, Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden resigned in a front office shake-up after investigations into alleged skimming of signing bonuses for Dominican prospects. Bowden denied any wrongdoing.

The rate of positive drug tests in the Dominican Summer League, where young prospects start out, has also been a concern. Some steroids can be purchased over the counter in the Dominican Republic, creating confusion for players over what is allowable.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Frank Pingue)