HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a Major League contract with Cuban infielder Yulieski Gurriel, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Gurriel, 32, is a 6-foot-0, 190-pound infielder from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. He has spent parts of 15 seasons playing in Cuba's Serie Nacional for Sancti Spiritus (2001-13) and Industriales (2014-15). He also played the latter part of the 2014 season in the Japan Central League with Yokohama. Between both leagues, Gurriel is a career .335 hitter (1585x4735) with 250 homers, 1,018 RBI, 121 stolen bases and a .997 OPS (.417 OBP/.580 SLG). Over the course of his career, Gurriel has seen the most time at third base, but has also appeared at second base and has seen limited action at shortstop and in center field.
He last played in 2015 with Industriales in Cuba's Serie Nacional and batted .500 (87x174) with 20 doubles, 15 homers, 51 RBI and a 1.463 OPS (.589 OBP/.874 SLG) on the season. Internationally, he played for the Cuban National Team, which won the gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and the silver in the 2008 Olympics. He also represented Cuba in the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics.
This marks the first major Cuban player signed to a Major League contract under Jeff Luhnow's tenure.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Astros have designated IF Matt Duffy for assignment.