This past winter, the Braves inked Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano to a 4 year, $6 million contract. However, when the club got to Spring Training, Toscano was nowhere to be found. He had visa issues and could not gain entry into the United States. However, after months of frustration, the problem has been solved. According to David O’ Brien, Toscano is now training in Florida:
Dian Toscano, Cuban OF #Braves signed last winter, has begun working out in Florida at team's site. Will go to minors when paperwork clears
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) May 31, 2015
Toscano will have to remain in camp until his paperwork has cleared. When this will occur is still unclear, and this has all just been a drawn out, fluid scenario. But hey, progress is progress. This is an interesting situation for Braves fans to monitor because there is so much unknown about Toscano. The 26-year-old was a career .300 hitter in Cuba, but obviously his batting average is inflated due to a lesser level of pitching than in the majors. Regardless, Toscano has a real shot of making the active roster sometime this season. He will likely start out in AAA Gwinnett and the organization will let things play out from there. The good news for Toscano is that the Braves are in need of backup outfielders. Eric Young Jr. has mightily struggled, and has only received two starts in the past month. Todd Cunningham got off to a hot start in the Miami series, but since then he is hitting just 2-for-28 (.071). Even Jonny Gomes is struggling, hitting just .198 this season. Sure, getting back a healthy Kelly Johnson will be a huge boost for this club. However, I believe that Toscano, as well as Joey Terdoslavich, who just came back from injury, both have a legitimate shot at earning a roster spot. Toscano is signed to a very team-friendly contract so long as he can make some type of contribution to the Major League club. Toscano is just the beginning of the Braves increasing effort to explore the international market, which is a great sign to see. Rumor has it that 2016 could be the year Atlanta makes an international splash.
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