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Cuban outfielder Blanco signs with A's

Speedy right-handed hitter to attend club's Dominican academy
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

OAKLAND -- Hoping to add to their history of success with Cuban stars, the A's signed free-agent outfielder Dairon Blanco, the team announced Tuesday.

Blanco played in Cuba's Serie Nacional from 2012-15 before defecting to the Dominican Republic in hopes of pursuing a Major League career. The 24-year-old, a right-handed hitter and thrower listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, had been showcasing his skills for Major League teams after leaving Cuba.

OAKLAND -- Hoping to add to their history of success with Cuban stars, the A's signed free-agent outfielder Dairon Blanco, the team announced Tuesday.

Blanco played in Cuba's Serie Nacional from 2012-15 before defecting to the Dominican Republic in hopes of pursuing a Major League career. The 24-year-old, a right-handed hitter and thrower listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, had been showcasing his skills for Major League teams after leaving Cuba.

Slugging outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Canseco are other Cubans who initially established themselves with the A's.

In his most recent season, Blanco played 85 games split between the Ganaderos de Camaguey and the Alazanes de Granma, hitting .296/.352/.427 with four home runs, eight triples, 35 RBIs and 29 stolen bases.

Blanco played 250 games across his four professional seasons in Cuba, hitting .303/.369/.409 with seven homers, 15 triples, 79 RBIs and 52 steals.

A's assistant GM Dan Feinstein cited Blanco's running ability and sheer athleticism as two of his primary assets. Feinstein said that Blanco's speed was rated as 80, the maximum possible grade on the professional scouts' 20-to-80 scale.

Due to Blanco's two-year layoff from competitive baseball, Feinstein said that the A's plan on sending him to their Dominican academy to "get him back on a more structured baseball schedule."

Chris Haft has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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