Cuban shortstop free to sign with any team

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According to his agent Bart Hernandez, Cuban shortstop Adeiny
Hechavarria is now able to sign with any team. Jorge Arangure of
ESPN.com tweeted the news last night.

Hechavarria was temporarily blocked as the Office of Foreign Assets Committee verified his age, identity and
residency. Many scouts like the 21-year-old Hechavarria better than Jose Iglesias, who signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Red Sox last
September. The pair played together on the Cuban National Junior Team.

We’re talking about a player who is still very raw, but the Yankees and Cubs are pushing hard to sign him. The Yankees are starting to consider life beyond Derek Jeter while the Cubs are already blessed with top-prospect Starlin Castro and 18-year-old Korean Hak-Ju Lee in their minor league system. But hey, you can never have enough talent.
 

Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name

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The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.

Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.

As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.

Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.

The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”