Josh Collmenter couldn't pass up the opportunity to help the growth of his sport in New Zealand.

The seven-year Major League Baseball veteran will play for the New Zealand entry into the Australian Baseball League (ABL) this summer, but his commitment to growing the game doesn't stop there.

The 32-year-old pitcher is among the coaching staff of a New Zealand under-15 development team who travelled to Taiwan this week of a series of matches. Collmenter said it was "paramount" to help develop the game at the youth level.

"I remember starting baseball as a kid and then you keep going and just get a little bit better and you learn a little bit more and you get some opportunities," Collmenter said. "For these kids, the opportunity to travel internationally and play at such a young age is incredible."


"It's something to really build here, and I just jumped at the opportunity."

The New Zealand entry to the ABL, which will be Auckland-based and play in its inaugural season this year, will help to boost the profile of the already growing sport. And while it will likely bring more interest to the game, it will also provide Kiwis with a shot to play professional baseball locally.

The roster will feature a number of imports such as Collmenter, but homegrown talent will be on show in the team as well. Some hopefuls were attending a development camp this week with that goal in mind.

"To get the opportunity to play baseball internationally, especially in New Zealand – somewhere that's just kind of in its infancy for baseball – it's kind of exciting," he said of joining the team.

"There's a couple of good arms there so it'll be fun to try and hone them in a little bit and get them where they want to be."

The team were planning to hold an open day in the coming weeks to announce its confirmed participation in the league, where they are expected to reveal the team name, colour scheme and logo, as well as more members of the coaching and playing staff.