A club spokesman with knowledge of the situation offered an ominous "no comment" when asked to verify or refute the report. Mateo had been expected to begin his professional career in the 2009 Dominican Winter Instructional League.
Announced with great fanfare by the organization in Santo Domingo on signing day, Mateo received the second-largest bonus ever given to an amateur Latin American player and the largest bonus for a Latin American hitter. He had been considered the top prospect in all of Latin America this season.
Mateo's original deal was conditional on a physical conducted by Cardinals team doctors in late July. At that time, he was introduced to the press amid great fanfare in St. Louis.
The 6-foot-2, 190 pound Mateo bats and throws left handed and was born on March 30, 1993. He participated in Major League Baseball's RBI World Series in both 2007 and 2008 representing the Dominican Republic. The tournament was held at MLB's Urban Youth Academy in Compton, CA.
The club can void or renegotiate the contract if Mateo's reported problem cannot be corrected. They have 90 days from July 2 to do so based on medical conclusions yet to be drawn, or at least announced.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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