MLB: Astros, Yulieski Gurriel agree to five-year, $47.5 million deal

The Houston Astros have signed Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel to a five-year, $47.5 million contract, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

Houston won the bidding war for a player who drew interest from more than a dozen big league teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and San Diego Padres. Gourriel was primarily a third baseman in Cuba, so this news seems to put a sudden block on the ascension of Astros third base prospect Alex Bregman.

MLB: Bidding War Coming over Cuba’s Yulieski Gourriel

Yulieski Gourriel, the star Cuban infielder from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, has taken his second step towards achieving the dream of playing in the Majors, obtaining his free agency Monday that makes him eligible to sign with any MLB team. We could be seeing his debut as early as July or August this year.

Gourriel (who turned 32 on June 9) will be presented to scouts of the 30 MLB teams to show his talent in the famous “showcase” which presupposes he is ready to play at this highest level of baseball.

Return of Olympic baseball/softball at Tokyo 2020 Games supported by IOC Executive Board

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today welcomed the announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board to support the inclusion of baseball and softball among a new sports package for the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo.

A final vote on the composition of the sports programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will be taken at the IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August, and, if approved, it would constitute “the most comprehensive evolution of the Olympic programme in modern history,” the IOC stated.

MLB: Hector Olivera Receives 82-Game Suspension

Braves outfielder Hector Olivera has accepted an 82-game suspension, without pay, under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the league announced earlier this afternoon. Olivera’s suspension is retroactive to April 30 and will run through Aug. 1. The time he’s served on paid leave from April 30 until now will be retroactively credited toward the suspension, and any pay he has received in that time will be revoked. All told, the suspension will cost him roughly $2.03MM of this season’s $4MM salary. Olivera has accept the punishment and will not file an appeal.

Jose Adolis Garcia Joins the Yomiuri Giants

José Adolis García has joined the minor league team of the Yomiuri Giants.

He is the younger brother of Braves third baseman Adonis García, who was recently demoted to the minor leagues. The Cuban Nacional Series contracted out the services of García to the Giants.

The Giants have to hope García does better than the last hitter they contracted out Frederich Cepeda, who struggled to hit Japanese pitching.

The one bright spot is García is younger than Cepeda at 23 years of age, so there is a lot of future in his game.

Preliminary Team Cuba Roster Announced for the Can-Am Experience

The Cuban Baseball Federation announced in Havana today, the 43 players that have been selected for the 2016 national team trainings for the upcoming Cuba participation in the Can-Am Independent League during the month of June this year.

This preliminary squad will be reduced to 28 players before the Cuban team travels to Canada on June 4.

The Cuban National Team will be the first Cuban-based squad since the Havana Sugar Kings to play a professional team during the regular season game in a United States minor or independent league stadium. 

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