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LOUISVILLE, KY (July 14, 2014) –Louisville Slugger, the all-time number one and Official Bat of Major League Baseball®, has hit a grand slam with the latest addition to its professional baseball staff. Juan Lara, a longtime member of the San Diego Padres front office and former staffer in the Office of the Commissioner at MLB®, is the company’s new Professional Baseball Sales Representative. He’ll work with Director of Professional Baseball James Sass and Louisville Slugger’s pro bat team to build relationships with and service Minor League and Major League Equipment Managers and players.

“Juan brings so much to the table for us at Louisville Slugger,” Sass said. “His background is a template of what we were looking for when filling this important position. He has incredible knowledge and experience learned only from being on the inside of Major League Baseball.”

Lara spent the last 12 years in positions of increasing responsibility in the Padres organization, most recently serving as Manager, Player Development & International Operations, where he made as many as eight trips annually to the Dominican Republic. Prior to working for the Padres, he spent four years at MLB headquarters in New York as Coordinator of Minor League Player Records. There, among his many responsibilities, he approved Minor League player contracts and interpreted and enforced Major League rules for clubs.

“Juan’s experience with MLB on the rules side and with the Padres in player development is invaluable,” Sass said. “He oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Padres’ academy in the Dominican Republic. He’s scouted and evaluated minor leaguers and cultivated relationships with and mentored young players. He’s handled fulfilment of equipment orders for Player Development & International Scouting in Latin America. He understands the boundaries of how to conduct himself in a professional baseball clubhouse. We couldn’t have found anyone better suited for this job. He brings a fresh energy and new viewpoint to our team. We’re really excited about what Juan will be able to do for Louisville Slugger.”

Lara has hit the ground running in his first week on the job, already making clubhouse visits with Sass to see the Reds, Cubs and Pirates while renewing some old friendships with players and coaches. He says leaving an MLB club was not easy, but joining Louisville Slugger was the right decision for him.

“Everyone in baseball has great respect for Louisville Slugger and its place in baseball,” Lara said. “While there’s 130 years of unmatched history with Louisville Slugger, I decided to join the team because of the company’s bright future. Louisville Slugger products and service are the very best in baseball. I’ll do everything within my power to get the stars of the future and today swinging the all-time number one bat, Louisville Slugger.”

Lara has had a lifelong love affair with the game and credits his many mentors in professional baseball for helping him reach this new point in his career, including Senior Director of Major League Operations Roy Krasik, former VP of MLB International Operations Lou Melendez, Padres VP of Player Development Randy Smith and Oakland Athletics coach Tye Waller.

“Each of those guys, and others, taught me a great deal along the way, and I know I will continue to use the knowledge I gained from them in my new role with Louisville Slugger,” Lara said.

He will be based in Phoenix, Ariz., where he will have easy access to West coast MLB clubs and 15 MLB clubs’ minor league training facilities. There he can focus on identifying young players for bat, glove and batting glove contracts to carry them into Major League Baseball.

Lara is a 1993 graduate of Georgetown University with a B.S. in Business Administration. He and his wife, Estela, have three children, Pedro, Sabrina and Antonio.

About Louisville Slugger
Louisville Slugger® is the Official Bat of Major League Baseball® and the #1 Bat in MLB®. It is synonymous with America’s pastime. Originating in 1884, Louisville Slugger bats have graced the hands of the greatest players in baseball, including stars of today. Known for helping create baseball history, Louisville Slugger continues to innovate and provide players the products and confidence they need to make new history and own the plate every day.

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