LaRocca Succeeds In Japan
May 14, 2007
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.- Still chasing his baseball dream at the age of 34, former University of Massachusetts infielder Greg LaRocca now rates as one of the leading hitters in Japan's Pacific League.
Through Wednesday, he had a .362 batting average, 12 home runs and a .342 on-base percentage in 36 games for the Orix Buffaloes. That's his third team since he chose to play in Japan four years ago. He plays third base and bats No. 3 in the lineup.
LaRocca, who was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 10th round of June, 1994, spent the greater part of 10 seasons in the minor leagues, seven with the Padres, three with the Cleveland Indians. He made the big leagues for brief stays with each team, a total of 39 games.
In 2004, he accepted an opportunity to play with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He responded with a big "rookie" year - 40 homers, 101 RBIs and a .328 average. He hit 18 homers for the Carp in 2005 before moving on to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, for whom he had another 18-homer season in 2006. Going into the 2007 campaign, LaRocca carried a .307 batting average for 305 games in Japan.
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