MLB fires top Latin America executive Ronaldo Peralta

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Major League Baseball's leading executive in Latin America, Ronaldo Peralta has been ousted, according to an e-mail sent to baseball executives and obtained by

A memo from MLB's vice president of international operations, Lou Melendez, to Dominican-based employees and dated March 9, thanks Peralta for the work he has done since joining the office in 2001 and notes the move is part of MLB's larger restructuring plans.

The commissioner's office said Monday that former Oakland general manager Sandy Alderson will work on overhauling MLB's operations in the Dominican Republic. Peralta's removal marks the first major move by Alderson.

The Santo Domingo office opened in 2000 with the intent of growing the game and handling routine administrative matters. But Latin American baseball has been rocked by major scandals in recent years, including team executives allegedly skimming bonus money to teenage prospects, prolific use of performance-enhancing drugs, age fraud and identity fraud. The office struggled under Peralta to shift from an administrative arm of MLB to an investigative one charged with vetting players' ages and identities.

Peralta originally worked in the Santo Domingo office as second in command to its inaugural leader, Rafael Perez. When Perez left join the New York Mets' front office in the spring of 2005, Peralta was promoted to replace him.

Though running the Santo Domingo office is considered in some baseball circles to be one of the game's most challenging jobs, teams complained of inadequate leadership and questionable judgment.

Last March, broke news that Peralta hired his brother-in-law, Jose Antonio Frias, as an investigator paid to ensure the accuracy of players' ages and identities in the Dominican Republic. Frias was fired after an investigation revealed he accepted bribes to falsify the investigations he was paid to conduct.

An e-mail seeking comment from Peralta was not immediately returned.