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Orioles agree to terms with Cuban outfielder Reinier Romero

The Orioles have agreed to terms with Cuban defector Reinier Romero, 28, pending a physical. Romero is a left-handed-hitting center fielder with speed.

Romero, who defected from Cuba and has been living in Mexico for several years, agreed to a contract bonus roughly in the same neighborhood as some of the other Orioles' Cuban signings. Outfielders Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia each signed for about $800,000.

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Romero will start in the minors, but it's not yet clear when or at which level he will begin.
Romero previously played a season in the Cuban professional leagues, batting .250/.400/.417 with a triple in 11 games with Ciego de Avila in 2008, according to Baseball-Reference.com. He has played in Mexico, but because of his defector status, he hasn't participated in leagues in which statistics were readily available. When he was 21, Baseball-Reference.com listed him at 5-foot-8 and 168 pounds, but Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette called him "strong and powerful" Tuesday.

Orioles international scouting director Fred Ferreira said Romero is exceptionally fast, noting that he was clocked with a 6.2-second 60-yard dash.

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The Orioles had been working on the deal for a while, and it came together in the past week or so. The Orioles have jumped into the mid-level-expense Cuban market a lot in recent years, signing such players as Urrutia, Alvarez, outfielder Elier Leyva, right-hander Lazaro Leyva, left-hander Ariel Miranda and, now, Romero.

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