St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals sign Cuban outfielder to minor-league deal with spring training invite

U.S. collegiate team first baseman Brendan McKay (38) reaches for the throw as Cuba's Jose Adolis Garcia Arrieta (32) slides safely back to first base during the first inning of a baseball game in Cary, N.C., Monday, July 6, 2015.
U.S. collegiate team first baseman Brendan McKay (38) reaches for the throw as Cuba's Jose Adolis Garcia Arrieta (32) slides safely back to first base during the first inning of a baseball game in Cary, N.C., Monday, July 6, 2015. AP

The St. Louis Cardinals announced late Friday afternoon that they have signed Cuban free-agent outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to major-league spring training in Jupiter, Fla.

Garcia, who turns 24 on Thursday, was the MVP of Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top professional league, in 2016 and was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball in December.

“As we continue to look for ways to add talent to the Cardinals organization, we are grateful for the efforts of Moises Rodriguez (director of international operations) and Matt Slater (director of player personnel) in helping us to do so,” Cardinals Genereal Manager John Mozeliak said in a statement released by the team.

The younger brother of Atlanta Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia, Adolis Garcia played for Tigres de Ciego de Avila, leading them to back-to-back Serie National championships in 2015 and 2016 and another title in 2012.

The right-handed hitting Garcia batted .315 with a .395 on-base percentage and a .517 slugging percentage last season during his MVP campaign. He batted .322 in 2015.

Garcia, a native of Ciego de Avila, played for Team Cuba during the July 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and belted three home runs, including a walk-off shot to defeat Puerto Rico in the bronze-medal game.

Garcia played briefly for the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League last season.

He will be assigned uniform No. 75 for in spring training.

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