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Series in Miami special for Cuban-born Tomas

Special to MLB.com

MIAMI -- Marlins Park sits less than 250 miles away from Yasmany Tomas' hometown of Havana, Cuba.

No wonder South Florida -- with its large Cuban population -- felt familiar when he got off the plane Sunday night with his Arizona teammates for the four-game series against the Marlins.

Full Game Coverage

MIAMI -- Marlins Park sits less than 250 miles away from Yasmany Tomas' hometown of Havana, Cuba.

No wonder South Florida -- with its large Cuban population -- felt familiar when he got off the plane Sunday night with his Arizona teammates for the four-game series against the Marlins.

Full Game Coverage

"I feel like I am at home," Tomas said through an interpreter. "I have spent a little time in Arizona, in the Majors, but people recognize me here. Everything is familiar. My wife has lived a little more in Miami and she was preparing me for this."

Tomas signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the D-Backs this past December after private tryouts in the Dominican Republic.

But Tomas started the season in Triple-A Reno to make the transition. He got called up on April 15 after only five games and 23 plate appearances in the Minors. Tomas ranks second in average (.309), fourth in on-base percentage (.356) and fourth in multi-hit games (seven) among National League rookies.

The 24-year-old is happy to be part of the growing trend of Cuban-born players in the big leagues. Their success should lead to more opportunities in the future for others.

"I think we have a lot of Cuban players who can play in Major League Baseball," Tomas said. "There's a lot of talent. In Cuba, it's like a factory. Cuba and baseball is a national sport. Cuba and baseball are so related."

Video: ARI@MIA: D-backs turn around-the-horn double play

Tomas, who homered for the first time on Saturday, achieved another milestone during Monday's opener: batting cleanup. He has reached base safely in 14 of his 17 starts with a .329 average after going 3-for-5 with a two-run double in Monday's 3-2 13-inning win over Miami.

Video: ARI@MIA: Tomas hustles down the line for a single

"Did I put him in the four hole?" manager Chip Hale joked. "Yeah, we did that. [Hitting coach] Turner [Ward] and I, and [bench coach] Glenn [Sherlock] -- we sat together and wanted to shake it up again like we did in Colorado. Tomas has had really good at-bats. He's been seeing the ball well. We wanted to put him in there between [Paul Goldschmidt] and [Mark] Trumbo."

Christina DeNicola is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Yasmany Tomas