Braves to sign Cuban catcher Yenier Bello, per report

Mike Ehrmann

Bello will likely start his MLB career in the minors and attempt to work his way up to Major League playing time.

The Atlanta Braves have signed Cuban catcher Yenier Bello to a minor-league deal, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

Bello is not as highly regarded as fellow Cubans like Jose Abreu, Alex Guerrero or Erisbel Arruebarruena, all of whom signed large contracts earlier in the offseason. However, his ability to play backstop could help him earn major league playing time.

The Braves lost starting catcher Brian McCann to the Yankees in free agency and are now left with Evan Gattis as the likely starter behind home plate. Gerald Laird is expected to back him up, with Ryan Doumit also being able to catch. Top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt could work his way into the mix, but has been dreadful at the plate in the minors.

If the 29-year-old Bello can outplay the other catchers in Spring Training, there is a possibility he could break camp with the team. Much more likely, however, is the possibility of him opening the season in the minors. He served primarily as a backup for most of his career in Cuba, but hit  .274 with 13 home runs in his final season in the Serie Nacional.

Bello had attempted to defect from Cuba in 2012 but was caught, suspended and had his passport confiscated. Last year he retired from baseball, retrieved his passport and traveled to Ecuador, but never returned to Cuba and instead established residency in Mexico.

More from SBNation.com

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.