Roberto Ortiz becomes first MLB umpire from Puerto Rico

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Roberto Ortiz became the first Puerto Rican-born umpire to join the big league staff in a series of retirements and promotions announced Friday by MLB.

“I am honored and blessed to have the privilege of becoming the first Puerto Rican umpire to be hired by MLB,” the 37-year-old Ortiz said. “It fills me with pride to be able to represent my family and my island of Puerto Rico in what I consider the best league in the world.”

Joe West made it official, retiring from Major League Baseball after umpiring a record 5,460 regular-season games.

Longtime umpires Gerry Davis, Kerwin Danley, Brian Gorman and Fieldin Culbreth also have retired.

Ben May, Ryan Additon, Sean Barber and John Libka joined Ortiz in promotions to the full-time MLB staff.

Laz Díaz, Greg Gibson, Marvin Hudson, Ron Kulpa and Bill Welke were elevated to crew chiefs.

The 69-year-old West worked his first big league game on Sept. 14, 1976, at third base in Atlanta when the Braves hosted the Houston Astros. His finale was on Oct. 6, when he worked home plate at Dodger Stadium for the NL wild-card game between Los Angeles and the St. Louis Cardinals.

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