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Cuban First Baseman Yuli Gurriel Signs Minor League Contract

 Matt Tallarini  |    Apr 14th, 2024 11:30am EDT

Yuli Gurriel heads for first after he drove in Jazz Chisholm Jr. in the ninth inning to take the lead against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 28, 2023, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Cuban first baseman Yuli Gurriel signed a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves on April 13, Francys Romero of beisbolfr.com reported. The two-time World Series champion will be assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Gurriel, 39, was born in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, and played eight seasons in Major League Baseball with the Houston Astros from 2016-22 and the Miami Marlins in 2023.

He won the Gold Glove Award and the American League batting title in 2021. During the 2006 tournament, he was also selected to the All-World Baseball Classic Team with the Cuban national team.

Gurriel won nine gold medals with the Cuban national team at the 2003 and 2005 Baseball World Cup, the 2002, 2006, and 2010 Intercontinental Cup, the 2003 and 2007 Pan American Games, the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, and the 2004 Olympics before he left the 2016 Caribbean Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic with his brother and current MLB player Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

He played in 15 seasons in Serie Nacional with the Gallos de Sancti Spíritus from 2001-13 and the Industriales de La Habana from 2013-16 before he left Cuba.

Gurriel also played for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in 2014 and batted .305 playing in 62 games with 258 plate appearances, ripping 73 hits, 22 doubles, 11 home runs, 30 RBI, three stolen bases, 15 walks, 40 strikeouts, and a .884 OPS before he signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the Astros on July 16, 2016.

Gurriel signed a minor league contract with Miami on March 10, 2023, and was assigned to Triple-A Jacksonville to start the season before the organization selected his contract on March 30, 2023.

Last season, Gurriel played in 108 games in South Florida and batted .245 with 329 plate appearances, smacking 73 hits, 16 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 27 RBI, four stolen bases, 26 walks, 44 strikeouts, and a .663 OPS before he elected free agency on November 2, 2023.

In his final season with the Astros in 2022, Gurriel batted .242, playing 146 games with 584 plate appearances, recording 132 hits, 40 doubles, eight home runs, 53 RBI, eight stolen bases, 30 walks, 73 strikeouts, and a .647 OPS.

During his eight seasons in the MLB, Gurriel has played in 909 games and has a lifetime average of .281 in 584 plate appearances. He has 939 hits, 222 doubles, eight triples, 98 home runs, 462 RBI, 27 stolen bases, 214 walks, 414 strikeouts, and a .766 OPS.

Yuli Gurriel is currently not on the 40-man roster with Atlanta. Braves manager Brian Snitker will have to evaluate closely with the organization’s front office during the next few weeks how Gurriel can see a fit in the lineup due to Matt Olsen, Austin Riley, and Marcell Ozuna being listed at first base on the team’s depth chart.