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07/13/09 4:30 PM ET

Cuban defector Chapman hires agent

Southpaw takes next step towards signing pro contract

Aroldis Chapman, the southpaw pitcher who defected from Cuba earlier this month, has taken his next step toward a professional career in organized baseball by hiring an agent.

Athletes Premier International will be representing Chapman, who left Cuba's national team shortly upon its arrival in the Netherlands for a tournament.

Chapman now has a well-defined route to follow toward his professional objective, retracing the path of previous Cuban defectors: Establish residency outside the United States, leading to his free agency and ability to sign with any of the 30 Major League teams.

Athletes Premier International is fronted by Edwin Leonel Mejia.

"I am very excited to be starting a new chapter in my life and have Edwin and the rest of the team at Athletes Premier by my side to help me realize my dreams," Chapman said in a statement Monday.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.