(KSDK Sports) -- Cuban free-agent Aledmys Diaz reported to the Cardinals Major League spring training camp on Monday and will wear uniform #95.
During 2012, his final season playing for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara in Cuba's Serie Nacional professional league, the 23-year old hit .315 with 12 home runs and 11 stolen bases in 270 at-bats.
Beginning when he was age 17, Diaz played five seasons for Serie Nacional—which is Cuba's highest level professional league and has produced such recent players as Oakland's Yoenis Cespedes, the Dodgers Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman.
"We have been following Aledmys for quite some time," stated Cardinals Senior Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak. "His signing marks a significant benchmark for the Cardinals in the international arena and we are excited to have reached this agreement."
The Cardinals anticipate Diaz will begin the 2014 season at the high minor league level as he becomes familiar with the organization. The 6-1, 195-pound right-handed hitting Diaz held a private workout for the Cardinals in Jupiter, Fla. last month.
Diaz, born on August 1, 1990 in Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba, has represented Cuba in several international tournaments, including the 2010 World University Championship games in Tokyo, Japan. He currently resides in Mexico City, Mexico after defecting from Cuba while playing in a tournament in Holland in July of 2012.
Brian Stull will be contributing to KSDK Sports throughout the 2014 MLB season. Brian is the St. Louis Cardinals lead writer at St. Louis Baseball Weekly and is host of the St. Louis Baseball Weekly radio show on CBS Sports Radio 920.