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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Shortstop Marten Gasparini’s unlikely journey from Italy to Royals’ minor leagues

Nick Leto has dark, short hair, and he is blessed with a friendly, affable personality. On a typically sunny day in Surprise, he is wearing a Royals polo shirt and greeting nearly everyone who passes by their first name.

His title is the Arizona operations manager for the Royals. In a nutshell, that means Leto ensures the facilities in Surprise accommodate whatever the team needs. It’s a year-round job.

After the Royals break spring training this week, the minor-leaguers stay behind until their season begins. Players from the big-league club sometimes stay in extended spring training if they are working through injuries. There is a rookie-ball team there in the summer and the Royals take part in the Arizona Fall League…

Leto previously worked for the Braves in their facility in Orlando, Fla. He also helped Major League Baseball run its European academies, including one at the Italian Olympic Training Center in Tirrenia.

That’s where he got to know Bill Holmberg of the Italian Baseball Academy. Holmberg tipped off Leto about Gasparini, and the Royals quickly encouraged Leto to check him out.

“For somebody in my position to even have the freedom to do something like that is, in my mind, unheard of,” Leto said, shaking his head. “The operations guy from Arizona is not going to Europe for the club, not scouting anything; I’m not even on that level.”

Zach Posted: March 29, 2016 at 12:35 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: europe, international players, operations guy from arizona, royals

 

 

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