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Notebook

Cuban pitcher says he’s defecting

– Cuban pitcher Misael Siverio told a Spanish-language newspaper he has defected to the United States and is going to try to make it to the major leagues.

Siverio was part of the Cuban national team that traveled to Iowa for an exhibition game against a collegiate all-star team from the U.S. But he apparently left the delegation at some point after it arrived in Des Moines on Tuesday.

“Leaving behind your country is not easy, but this was a decision that I gave a lot of thought,” Siverio told El Nuevo Herald in Miami. “Of course, my dream is to play in the majors, and from now on I will start taking the first steps to make it happen.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida also welcomed the 24-year-old Siverio to the U.S. in a post on her Twitter account Wednesday. A message was left by The Associated Press seeking comment from the Cuban-American Republican.

Siverio was not listed when Team USA released an updated roster for Cuba on Wednesday. Team USA CEO Paul Seiler told the AP that, from Cuba’s perspective, Siverio is no longer a member of their delegation.

Seiler and Antonio Becali, the head of the Cuban delegation, declined further comment.

The Cubans are in Iowa to play a team of American college stars in the opener of a five-game set spanning three cities. The set starts tonight in Des Moines at the home of the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

Draft spending rises

Teams spent $219.9 million on signing bonuses for selections in baseball’s amateur draft this year, up 6 percent from $207.8 million at a similar point last year.

The rise followed a 10 percent drop from a record $233.6 million in 2011, the last year before restrictions imposed by baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with players.

Eleven teams went over their signing bonus pools – one more than last year – and will pay a total of $1.8 million in tax, according to preliminary figures compiled by Major League Baseball.

Draft picks awarded

The Rockies, Orioles, Indians, Marlins, Royals and Brewers won picks after the first round of next year’s draft in Major League Baseball’s second annual competitive balance lottery.

The lottery involved the 10 teams with the lowest revenue and 10 in the smallest markets and was six picks after the first round.

A club’s odds of winning the lottery were based on its winning percentage last season.

The Padres, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Rays, Pirates and Mariners won second-round picks.

Around the leagues

The American League’s 3-0 All-Star Game victory Tuesday night on Fox earned a 6.9 rating and 12 share, up from a 6.8/12 in 2012. There was also a spike in viewers when Mariano Rivera made his final All-Star appearance, with the rating peaking at 7.6/13 about that time. …

Alex Rodriguez is going to join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, likely the final stop in his rehabilitation from left hip surgery before he returns to the New York Yankees as early as Monday.

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