SAO PAULO (AP) — Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin will manage Brazil during a qualifying round for next year's World Baseball Classic.
The Brazilian baseball federation said Tuesday it will be "an honor and a privilege for Brazilian baseball" to have Larkin as its manager for the qualifier in Panama City from Nov. 15-19, adding it will "certainly improve the development of Brazilian baseball."
Larkin visited the country earlier this year during Major League Baseball's "Elite Camp in Brazil," when he helped instruct young players from across South America.
Larkin spent his 19-year major league career with his hometown Cincinnati Reds and was inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. The Reds retired his No. 11 last month.
Brazil will be participating in a WBC qualifying round for the first time. Its qualifying pool also includes Colombia and Nicaragua, and its first game will be against host Panama on Nov. 15.
"To have the right to participate in a qualifier for the World Baseball Classic already represented a great advance for Brazil," the local federation said. "And with the announcement of our new manager, Brazil certainly will be extra motivated."
The World Baseball Classic will be played in March 2013.
Brazil is ranked No. 26 in the world, according to the international baseball federation. The country doesn't have any significant tradition internationally and the sport is mostly played by Brazilians linked to the huge Japanese community in the country.
The local federation was founded in 1990, and there are only about 20,000 baseball players in the country, according to the international federation.
Brazilian third baseman Yan Gomes made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in a game against the New York Yankees in May, becoming the first Brazilian-born player to reach the major leagues. Gomes is one of 14 players from the country signed to a professional contract in the United States, the international federation said.
Larkin's daughter, a singer who performs as CymcoLe, recently recorded a single in Brazil. Called "Bring On The Nite," the song is one of the themes of the country's top soap opera.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni