MLB considers future Cuban ties

April 26, 2007 at 12:46 PM
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NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball officials in New York are preparing for the possibility of recruiting Cuban players if the United States lifts its trade embargo.

MLB began discussing the possibility of normalizing relations with Cuba about a year and a half ago when the health of Cuban leader Fidel Castro began to deteriorate, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Officials said baseball is preparing a system to allow teams to recruit players from the island nation if the U.S. trade embargo is lifted.

"There may not be any significant changes with our relationship with Cuba in the near term, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't think about these things," Joe Garagiola Jr., the senior vice president for baseball operations, told the Times. "We are thinking about them, and that is probably the extent of what we can say at this point."

Garagiola is heading the discussions on the possibility of a renewed relationship with Cuba.

Baseball officials are also considering the possibility of setting up a minor league team in Cuba and building training academies similar to those in the Dominican Republic.

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