Cuban catcher Bello cleared by MLB

Turner Field. (Jason Getz/AP)
October 1, 2013, 9:49 AM

Say this about Cuban catcher Yenier Bello: he’s persistent.

Bello was caught by authorities when he attempted to leave Cuba in 2012, but he has now successfully left his home country and is in the process of being cleared to sign with a big league team. The 28-year-old got good news Monday when he was cleared by MLB, agent Bryce Dixon of Primo Sports Group told sportsnet.ca.

Multiple teams have already expressed interest in Bello, but he still needs to be unblocked by the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) before negotiating an agreement. It could take many months for OFAC to grant Bello the permission he needs to finalize a deal.

Bello, a power hitter, has significant experience in Cuba. He hit .274 with 13 homers playing in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2011.

Bello is expected to set up a workout in Mexico or in Arizona to allow clubs to assess his potential. Then teams will be informed if and when he officially becomes available.

Many MLB teams are expected to consider catching upgrades this off-season, including the Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners.

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