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May '14 14

Yulieski Gourriel joins Nippon Professional Baseball

Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel is the latest player to leave the Caribbean island legally to join a professional baseball league since Cuban government opened that way last year. He has signed with the Yokohama Dena Baystars in Nippon Professional Baseball. He joins Frederich Cepeda in NPB, who is playing for the Yomiuri Giants this year. Other Cubans in Japan are defectors Leslie Anderson, Juan Miranda and Yuniesky Betancourt.

Other players from Cuba playing worldwide with the permission of the government are Francisco Despaigne and Yordanis Simon in Mexico and Norberto Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Pedroso in Italy. Despaigne meanwhile is playing in Mexico with a Dominican passport, as reported by Baseball America, so the Mexican clubs don’t get in trouble with the US government with the Mexican League affiliated in some ways with Major League Baseball.

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