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Cuban Defector Headed for Bullpen

March 31, 2001

HOUSTON (AP) _ Danys Baez has been told by the Cleveland Indians that his future with the organization is in the bullpen.

Baez, 23, will start the season in a relief role at Triple-A Buffalo after a spring training in which he hit 96 mph several times but had a high ERA.

General manager John Hart said the club has always built its bullpens with power arms.

``We think he can come real fast in the bullpen,″ Hart said. ``His stuff plays really big in the pen. This could be a quick path for Danys.″

Baez signed a $14.5 million, four-year contract before last season after defecting from Cuba during the Pan American Games. The Indians outbid several teams, including the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves for Baez, a star pitcher on Cuba’s national team.

But the 6-foot-3 right-hander has yet to pitch higher than Double-A and struggled last year.

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