Cuban righty Castillo declared eligible for Draft

Cuban righty Castillo declared eligible for Draft

Another veteran arm will be made available to Major League teams soon. On Friday, Major League Baseball declared Cuban right-hander Diosdany Castillo, 27, eligible for the 2015 Draft. Earlier this month, Cuban right-hander Yoandy Fernandez was also declared eligible for the Draft.

Castillo and Fernandez, 27, trained together in Mexico and in Tampa, Fla., with pitching coach Orlando Chinea, who also worked with the Marlins' Jose Fernandez when the pitcher was a teenager.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Castillo defected from Cuba to Mexico last summer, entered the United States from Mexico in November, and claimed political asylum under the Cuban Adjustment Act. The pitcher can apply for permanent residency in the United States after he has been in the country for at least one year.

Pitching primarily out of the bullpen, Castillo went 23-16 with a 4.00 ERA and 27 saves in 351 1/3 innings in parts of seven seasons for Villa Clara in Cuba's Serie Nacional, the island's top league, starting in 2006. He struck out 237 and walked 113 during that span. Castillo also pitched for Cuba's World Baseball Classic team in 2013.

Castillo could pitch for teams this weekend and at a showcase scheduled for next week in Tampa, according to his new agent, Charisse Dash of DPX Sports.

The most common and lucrative practice for Cuban players who have defected from the island is to establish residency in a country outside of Cuba and United States and then petition Major League Baseball for free agency. A Cuban player can sign with a club, either as a free agent or under the international signing guidelines, once he is declared eligible.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.