Another Croat set to break into American sports. After the NBA and NHL, Croatia is set to have its first player in the strongest baseball league in the world, America’s MLB…
Young 18-year-old Antonio Horvatić, who plays for the Olimpija club in Karlovac, will become the first Croat to play in America’s MLB when he signs for the Tampa Bay Rays in December.
“Tampa Bay Rays scout saw me at a camp in Holland and before that they watched me at a camp in Italy. In Holland they tried me in another position from which I usually play. They tested me as a catcher and were very satisfied,” Horvatić, who just won his 13th Croatian title in a row with his club, told daily Jutarnji list.
“On 1.12 I am going to sign a contract. It has been 6 months since the draft and that is the deadline which a club can bring a new player. To play in the MLB is something every baseball player dreams about. Since 2000 only 60 players from Europe have signed MLB contracts,” he said, before adding.
“My club is only a few hundred metres from the building where I live. My older brother’s friend played at the club so I decided to try, that was 12 years ago, and I loved it,” Antonio explained.
Signing a MLB contract is a big deal for the 18-year-old, but he still has a way to go before starting in his first match in what is the world’s toughest baseball league. Horvatić is expected to start at off in one of the Rays lower league teams.