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Slugger becomes third legal Cuban baseball export

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Associated Press | May 13, 2014 04:18 PM EST | AP


HAVANA (AP) — Slugger Yulieski Gourriel has become the third Cuban baseball player to legally join a foreign team under a law passed by the talent-rich communist island last year.

The 30-year-old infielder signed Monday with Japan's Yokohama DeNA BayStars for one season, for an amount he declined to disclose. The BayStars play in Japan's Central League.

Gourriel told The Associated Press he would arrive in Japan by the end of the month.

Gourriel played for Cuba in three World Baseball Classics and has a .336 average and 258 home runs over 13 seasons in Cuba.

Cuban defectors have become some of the best players in the major leagues but only two have been formally allowed to play overseas under the new law. Cuba has not specified how much of the legal players' earnings go to the government.