PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers are closing in on a deal with Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arruebarruena, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke under the condition of anonymity because a deal hasn't been finalized.
Arruebarruena, 23, played with Yasiel Puig for Cienfuegos in Cuba's top amateur league. Known more for his glove than his bat, Arruebarruena represented his country at several international tournaments, including the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Arruebarruena defected from Cuba in November and established residency in Haiti, according to news reports. He would have to resolve immigration issues and undergo a physical examination before he can officially sign with the Dodgers.
If Arruebarruena finalizes a deal the Dodgers, he would become the third Cuban free agent signed by the team in the last two years. The Dodgers signed Puig in 2012 and Alexander Guerrero last year.
The Dodgers' farm system lacks depth in the infield. Their top shortstop prospect, Corey Seager, is projected to be a third baseman in the major leagues.
FATHERS PUIG, GONZALEZ
Puig likes children enough to have invited a group of them to take batting practice at Dodger Stadium over the off-season.
"They brighten our days," Puig said.
Now, Puig has a child of his own.
Puig said Wednesday that he became a father in the off-season to a boy named Diego Alejandro.
"I'm very happy," he said.
Puig said he expects his 2-month-old son to visit him in Arizona during spring training.
Adrian Gonzalez's wife gave birth to their second daughter in October. Alessandra Mia's birthday was Oct. 29, the day between Games 5 and 6 of the World Series.
With the Dodgers coming within two victories of reaching the World Series, Gonzalez said, "We were planning for all kinds of different scenarios. We definitely would have preferred to play out one of those scenarios. But being there for her birth and being a part of it is always a blessing and always special."
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