Former Cuban national team member Hinojosa defects
Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees among teams interested in right-handed pitcher
At least one more pitching prospect from Cuba could be on the market this summer.
Right-handed pitcher Dalier Hinojosa, former star for the Cuban national team, defected from the island in February and began petitioning Major League Baseball to become a free agent last month, according to an industry source. Hinojosa still has to be cleared by the U.S. government before he can enter into an agreement with a Major League club.
The Cubs, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees are among the teams that have expressed interest in the pitcher, according to the source. Hinojosa, 27, throws a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, and his repertoire also features a slider, a curve, a two-seam fastball and a changeup.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Hinojosa has experience on Cuba's biggest stage.
Hinojosa starred for the Guantanamo Indios in the Serie Nacional, the island's top baseball league, but is largely known for throwing a seven-inning perfect game against Sri Lanka in the World University Championships in August 2010 and a five-inning perfect game against Hong Kong at the International Cup less than three months later.
In 2011, he pitched for the island's national team at the Rotterdam World Port Tournament in Holland, and suited up for the Baseball World Cup and the Pan-American Games teams. Hinojosa was also part of the country's team that toured Taiwan, China and Japan last year, and he was named to Cuba's preliminary roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Last week, right-handed pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Hinojosa's 2011 Baseball World Cup teammate, was declared a free agent. Gonzalez, who throws a fastball in the mid-90s, a changeup, a forkball and a curveball, is scheduled to throw three innings for Mexico's Toros de Tijuana in front of scouts as part of his showcase on Thursday in Tijuana.