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Servais sees bright future for 'plus defender' Heredia

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Though no official announcement has come from the Mariners, Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia was in the team's clubhouse on Saturday, and manager Scott Servais said the free agent will likely be on the field early next week after he passes his physical and takes care of the proper paperwork.

Heredia, 25, agreed to a one-year Major League deal for about $500,000, according to a source, but he hasn't played since defecting from Cuba in January of 2015.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Though no official announcement has come from the Mariners, Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia was in the team's clubhouse on Saturday, and manager Scott Servais said the free agent will likely be on the field early next week after he passes his physical and takes care of the proper paperwork.

Heredia, 25, agreed to a one-year Major League deal for about $500,000, according to a source, but he hasn't played since defecting from Cuba in January of 2015.

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Servais said he doesn't know a lot about Heredia, other than that speed and defense are his primary assets.

"He's a plus defender," Servais said. "There was some switch-hitting [in Cuba], but I don't know if he's still doing it. I don't know a ton about the player. I know our scouting is really high on him. I believe that Jerry [Dipoto] has seen him in a workout setting. We'll just have to see how it plays out."

Heredia posted a .285/.376/.418 batting line in Cuba from 2009-14, but spent '15 in Mexico. He could eventually provide depth behind Leonys Martin in center field, but Servais wants to keep expectations realistic.

"It's a lot to put on a player," Servais said. "This is his dream to get in an opportunity like this, to get in a Major League clubhouse, get around Robbie Cano and our team. I'm not looking for a high-expectation level right out of the chute. It takes a while for people to get comfortable. I think we need to have realistic expectations in this camp for him. And he probably hasn't played competitive ball for a while, either. "

The Mariners won't make an official announcement on Heredia until he passes his physical and signs a contract. At that point, they'll need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. The most likely move would be to put catcher Jesus Sucre on the 60-day disabled list, since he's sidelined at least six months with a broken fibula.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.

 

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