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MLB notebook: Cardinals sign Cuban shortstop to 4-year deal

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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw warms up before pitching against the Oakland Athletics during the third inning of a spring training game Monday, March 3, 2014, in Phoenix.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Monday, March 10, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

The Cardinals signed Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a major-league contract and he'll report to spring training Monday.

The Cardinals were among a number of teams, including the Yankees, who held private workouts for the right-handed hitting Diaz and the deal is believed to be for $15 million to $20 million for four years.

The team planned a news conference for Monday.

“We have been following Aledmys for quite some time,” general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “His signing marks a significant benchmark for the Cardinals in the international arena and we are excited to have reached this agreement.”

The deal came a day after St. Louis signed third baseman and leadoff man Matt Carpenter to a six-year, $52 million contract. During the offseason, the Cardinals committed $53 million over four years to sign free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, so they could face a position logjam in the near future.

The 23-year-old Diaz batted .315 with 12 home runs and 11 steals in 270 at-bats in 2012 for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara, Cuba's highest professional league, which has produced Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes, the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman.

The Cardinals anticipate the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Diaz will start the year at the high minor league level.

Diaz has represented Cuba in several international tournaments, including the 2010 World University Championship games in Tokyo, Japan, and lives in Mexico City.

Kershaw, Ryu slated to pitch for L.A. in Australia

Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be the Dodgers' starting pitchers in their two-game season-opening series in Australia against the Diamondbacks.

The games will be played March 22-23 at Sydney Cricket Ground.

Kershaw will be making his fourth straight season-opening start for Los Angeles.

Manager Don Mattingly made the announcement Sunday after weeks of speculation about who would start in Australia.

Ryu got the start in Game 2 because of an injury to Zack Greinke, who strained his right calf while throwing four pitches in his only spring appearance on Feb. 27 against Arizona.

Before getting hurt, Greinke said there was “zero interest” in making the long trip. He is not expected to travel. Greinke was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday.

Medlen suffers injury

Braves pitcher Kris Medlen left in the fourth inning with a strained forearm of Sunday's game against the Mets.

While facing Matt Clark, Medlen threw an off-speed pitch, grabbed his right elbow and turned his back to home plate. He then removed himself from the game.

Medlen, picked to start on Opening Day, was examined by Mets physician Dr. Struan Coleman and diagnosed with a right forearm strain pending an evaluation back at the Braves' complex on Monday.

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