Rangers close to signing Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin

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According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram the Rangers are close to signing outfielder Leonys Martin, who was declared a free agent last month after defecting from Cuba in 2010.

No word yet on how much the Rangers would be shelling out sign the 23-year-old, but last year John Manuel of Baseball America speculated that Martin “figures to garner a seven-figure signing bonus once he establishes residency and becomes a free agent.”

Here’s an excerpt from Manuel’s scouting report:

He’s a left-handed hitter whose best tools are his speed and defense. He’s a plus runner at least, being timed in 4.1 seconds to first base from the left side … and showed strong small-ball skills, with the ability to drag bunt for hits and handle the bat on the hit-and-run. He also played center field and showed at least average range.

Sounds like an intriguing player, particularly with the Rangers’ current speedy center fielder, Julio Borbon, struggling so much defensively. Wilson writes that Martin would likely start out in the minors, but he’s seemingly not far from being MLB-ready.

Video: Troy Tulowitzki plays along with a photographer who thought he was a pitcher

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Thursday marked photo day for the Blue Jays. There are always some oddities, usually when the players create fun for themselves. This time, the fun happened when a photographer mistook shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for a pitcher. Tulowitzki rolled with it and followed the photographer’s instructions to pose like a pitcher.

Hazel Mae has the hilarious video:

Hitters, of course, typically pose with a bat over their shoulder. Pitchers typically have their hand in their glove, sometimes leaning forward as if receiving the signs from their catcher.

Tulowitzki has exclusively played shortstop during his 12-year career in the majors, but perhaps one day he’ll step on the mound and be able to call himself a pitcher.