Less than ten days before the start of the 2009 season in the Division de Honor the Spanish Baseball and Softball Federation announced an important rule change. From now on players with European Union passports can be used in Spain without any regulations. All other players are considered foreign players. The Division de Honor clubs have to license at least 16 and up to a maximum of 25 players for the upcoming season. They can fill a maximum of five foreign spots on their roster without regulations. However the second match on each game day has to be pitched by a Spanish player (or now a player with European Union passport).
This change could have major effects on some teams in Spain, especially for the northern clubs, which are a located near to the border to France. For example Patrice Briones of the French National Team already traveled every weekend from southern France to Spain to appear on the mound for CD PAMPLONA. BASEBALL NAVARRA and SAN INAZIO BILBAO now might also recruit players from their neighbor. It will be interesting to see how fast the clubs can react to the sudden rule adjustment. The Italian Baseball and Softball Federation (FIBS) made a similar step this winter, which led to a bunch of signings of Spanish and Dutch players by Italian Baseball League clubs.
Photo: © San Inazio Bilbao