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MLB opens season with record percentage of foreign-born players

NY Mets' Yoenis Cespedes high fives teammates as he's introduced before a game against the Atlanta Braves Apr 3, 2017, in New York City.

NY Mets' Yoenis Cespedes high fives teammates as he's introduced before a game against the Atlanta Braves Apr 3, 2017, in New York City.  (Reuters/Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

A record 29.8 percent of major leaguers at the start of the season were born outside the 50 states, topping the previous high of 29.2 percent in 2005.

The Dominican Republic led with 93 players, followed by Venezuela (77) and Cuba (23), the commissioner's office said Monday. Venezuela topped its previous high of 66 in 2012 and Cuba matched its most, set last year.

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Puerto Rico was fourth at 16, followed by Mexico (nine), Japan (eight), Canada (six), South Korea (four), Curacao and Nicaragua (four each), Panama (three), and Australia, Brazil and Colombia (two apiece). Aruba, Germany, Netherlands, Taiwan and the U.S. Virgin Islands had one each.

The 19 nations and territories are record, topping 18 in 1998 and last year.

Texas had the most players born outside the 50 states with 14, followed by San Diego and Seattle (12 each) and the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland, Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies (11 each).

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Figures include 749 active players on opening day rosters and 119 on disabled lists or the restricted list. The pool of players included Pittsburgh third baseman Jung-Ho Kang and New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia, who are on the restricted list and expected to play this season. It did not include Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia, on the restricted list due to a lifetime suspension, and Texas first baseman Prince Fielder, who is on the disabled list and is not expected to play again.