Cespedes debuts in Dominican Winter League

Cespedes debuts in Dominican Winter League

Cespedes debuts in Dominican Winter League
Yoenis Cespedes' audition has begun.

Cespedes, a Cuban defector who is applying for residency in the Dominican Republic, debuted Thursday in the Dominican Winter League, lining up for Aguilas Cibaenas against Gigantes del Cibao. He was hitless in three at-bats, striking out in all of them.

Cespedes, an outfielder, served as the designated hitter for Aguilas, as he attempts to showcase his hitting skills for Major League clubs. Cespedes cannot be declared a Major League free agent until after he attains residency in the Dominican Republic, but scouts can watch him play before then.

Several teams appear to be interested in Cespedes, and there's been speculation that his pact could surpass the $30 million deal signed by fellow Cuban Aroldis Chapman in 2010. Cespedes, 26, set a record in his homeland by hitting 33 home runs in the 2010-11 season.

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