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MLB, MLBPA announce agreement with Cuban Baseball Federation

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On Tuesday, Francys Romero of CiberCuba reported that Major League Baseball and the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) reached an agreement on a posting system that would allow players to join the league without having to emigrate. An official announcement by the MLB and MLB Players Association was made on Wednesday.

Players who came from Cuba to the U.S. will be unaffected by the new agreement. The FCB will have to release all of their players who are at least 25 years old and have at least six years of playing experience, giving them the opportunity to come play for Major League Baseball. FCB can also release younger players to allow them a similar opportunity.

This is a big deal for all parties involved: Cuban baseball players, the country of Cuba, and Major League Baseball. Most importantly, this opens up a safe way for Cuban players to enter the U.S. to play Major League Baseball. We have heard some horror stories in the past of what Cuban players had to go through to reach the U.S. There was also a significant amount of human trafficking involved, largely being done by drug cartels.

For example, in 2014, the smugglers who helped Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig leave Cuba made threats against him for his money. Puig initially went from Cuba to Mexico to establish a residence, allowing him to go through the free agency process rather than being subjected to the draft if he had gone directly from Cuba to the U.S. The process made Puig vulnerable and he was forced to become involved with some shady people, to say the least.

The late José Fernández and his mother tried four times to reach the U.S. by boat from Cuba and failed the first three times. On the fourth try, they went to Mexico by boat. During the journey, a wave caused one of the members to go overboard — Fernández’s mother. He jumped into the water to save her. Thankfully, they survived the trip and Fernández eventually gained entry into the U.S.

That Cuban players will no longer have to go to such great lengths to come to the U.S. is terrific. They will also get the chance to make good money and improve their living conditions, both here and back home for their families. The talent level of Major League Baseball will increase, which can only be a good thing as well. All in all, this is great news.

Rays place Austin Meadows on 10-day injured list with thumb sprain

Austin Meadows
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Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.

Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.

Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.

In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.