Aledmys Diaz: In his own words

The St. Louis Cardinals shortstop prospect from Cuba covers many subjects related to his background and signing process in a wide-ranging interview.

The basics of the back story of St. Louis Cardinals prospect Aledmys Diaz are well-known by many followers of the team. To continue his baseball career, the shortstop defected from his Cuban homeland, leaving his family behind.

Before Diaz could sign, however, an age irregularity was discovered. Instead of the usual knocking years off, in this case, the player was actually a year younger than claimed. This was apparently orchestrated by his handlers in an attempt to circumvent international signing rules. Specifically, 23-year-olds and up are unrestricted free agents, able to sell their services to the highest bidder. Younger players are bound by the international signing bonus pool process.

Diaz worked out during his time of suspension and despite reports that he had not played in 18 months, Diaz in fact competed last winter in the Veracruz League in Mexico for several weeks.

Diaz indicated that financial security for his family was most important to him in his evaluation process, but also acknowledged that the Cardinals stood out by remaining in touch with him during his suspension.

Earlier this year, Diaz undertook a series of workouts for interested teams, crisscrossing the country in a process he acknowledges was stressful. In every case, he felt he had to show his best. That likely contributed to a sore shoulder that limited him even after he signed with the Cardinals on March 9.

A month later, the Cardinals indicate they are simply easing Diaz into action after the long period off. The right-handed batter has served as a pinch-hitter and designated hitter for Double-A Springfield, but is only making his first start in the field on Tuesday, April 8, in his team's sixth game. I watched Diaz closely during workouts for several days and did not see any indications that he is restricted in any way. Yet, his very careful handling raised a question.

Though Diaz has conversational English, he asked teammate Jonathan Rodriguez to serve as his translator for the following audio interview. Perhaps he sensed it would be an in-depth chat, which it was. In a wide-ranging discussion, Diaz covered every topic listed above and more. We began on a light-hearted note, as we joked about a Diaz line drive that struck Rodriguez on the rear end during batting practice the day before.

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Coming soon: Other upcoming interviews from Springfield include Rodriguez, Sam Gaviglio, Zach Petrick, Patrick Wisdom, Kurt Heyer and coach Packy Elkins.

Previously posted interview: Springfield manager Mike Shildt



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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