Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, the talented and sought-after Cuban defector, has joined Aguilas of the Dominican Winter League. He played Thursday in a round-robin playoff game.
Cespedes went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and was hit by a pitch in the 6-4 loss to the Gigantes del Cibao. He was the designated hitter, instead of his customary position in the outfield.
Cespedes had been working out in the Dominican Republic while awaiting clearance from U.S. and Major League Baseball officials to become a free agent. He has yet to formally establish residency in the Dominican Republic.
It is not clear why Cespedes decided to play, given the catastrophic impact an injury would have on his efforts to sign a contract. His representatives at Wasserman Media Group have not said what prompted Cespedes to join Aguilas.
Baseball officials with expertise in Latin America believe the Yankees, Cubs, Phillies, Blue Jays, Rangers, Tigers, Marlins, White Sox and Nationals have varying degrees of interest in Cespedes.
-- Jon Paul Morosi