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Tampa Bay Rays reach agreement to sign Cuban defector Leslie Anderson

Leslie Anderson, a Cuban who has agreed to a deal with the Rays, stretches for a throw during the World Baseball Classic.

Getty Images (2009)

Leslie Anderson, a Cuban who has agreed to a deal with the Rays, stretches for a throw during the World Baseball Classic.

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays on Thursday reached an agreement to sign Cuban defector Leslie Anderson, a left-hand hitting outfielder/first baseman whom his agent compares in style and skill to White Sox infielder Alexei Ramirez.

The deal, reportedly a four-year, $3.75 million major-league contract, isn't official. Anderson, 27, has to get a visa to travel from Mexico and pass a physical, and the Rays won't say anything about him until he does, which could take a week or two.

Agent Jaime Torres said Anderson, a five-year member of the Cuban national team who played in both World Baseball Classics, is athletic enough to play all three outfield spots plus first base. He added Anderson has a "plus-plus" arm and is a patient hitter (.381 average last season) who likes to walk but also has some power.

"I would say he's ready to play in the big leagues, and hopefully he'll get into camp and show that," Torres said.

The Rays are expected to start Anderson, 6 feet 3 and 205 pounds, in the minors.

Tampa Bay Rays reach agreement to sign Cuban defector Leslie Anderson 03/11/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 12, 2010 12:07am]
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