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Rizzo neither confirms, denies Maya report

Rizzo neither confirms, denies Maya report

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CINCINNATI -- General manager Mike Rizzo would neither confirm nor deny Tuesday's ESPN Deportes report that the Nationals have agreed to terms with Cuban right-hander Yunesky Maya.

Rizzo did, however, rave about the 28-year-old Maya, and believes he could be in a Major League rotation sometime this year. Maya's fastball has been clocked as high as 94 mph, and he also can throw a slider, curveball and changeup.

"He is battle-tested and is seasoned," Rizzo said. "We have seen him play in many tournaments over the years, so we feel we know him as well as anybody. He is a guy who has pitched a lot and knows his craft.

"If we get him, we have to see where he is at. We have seen him pitch quite a bit in the Dominican. We had guys monitoring [him] quite closely. It will be like any new pitcher we acquire. He goes to [the team's Spring Training complex in] Viera, Fla., and we see where he is at."

Maya played for the Cuban national team and participated in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classics. In six Cuban National Series seasons, he was 48-29 with 2.51 ERA.

"We know a lot about Maya. He is a young, poised, Major League-caliber pitcher," Rizzo said. "He was the No. 1 pitcher on a very successful Cuban national team. There are a lot of teams that are on him. Some of the successful organizations would like to sign him and put him directly in the rotation, and we are one of them."

Maya is living in the Dominican Republic, working out and pitching in simulated games.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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