BANGKOK - Former Boston Red Sox hero Johnny Damon has followed his family roots to Thailand to help the baseball minnows qualify for a leading international tournament, a Thai sports official said on Tuesday.
Big-hitting Damon, whose mother is Thai, will represent the kingdom in qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic, an official for the Amateur Baseball Association of Thailand told AFP.
"Coming to Thailand for him is like coming home," Juthabhon Phimphan said.
"He is the idol of Thai baseball players. He is a good morale boost and an inspiration for the athletes to improve," she added.
To advance to the 16-team Classic, to be held in San Francisco in March next year, Thailand will have to emerge from the qualifying round in Taiwan (November 15-18) including the hosts, New Zealand and the Philippines.
In a glittering career Damon, 39, has played for several Major League teams, but he is best known for his spell with the Red Sox, helping them claim the 2004 World Series.
He is currently without a team after being released by the Cleveland Indians.
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