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Yoennis Cespedes may be targeted by Yankees

Cuba's Yoennis Cespedes watches his third hit of

Cuba's Yoennis Cespedes watches his third hit of the game in the seventh inning against Mexico during a World Baseball Classic game at PETCO Park. (March 16, 2009) Credit: AP

Cuban defector Yoennis Cespedes hasn't yet been declared a free agent but if the outfielder does hit the market, the Yankees look poised to make a run at him.

General manager Brian Cashman won't say if the Yankees will get involved but the team has already extensively scouted Cespedes, the starting centerfielder for the Cuban national team during the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

An industry source said Tuesday the Yankees had representation to see Cespedes on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and will continue to look at the righthanded-hitting outfielder, considered the best position player in Cuba at the time of his defection last summer.

One talent evaluator who has seen Cespedes, who has been working out in the Dominican Republic since defecting, several times said there's "always a risk" with an international player but he had plenty of praise.

"His tools, especially his bat, have a chance to be special," he said.

The evaluator said Cespedes, who tied a Cuban League record with 33 homers -- hit in 90 games, also adding 99 RBIs -- is a rare combination of a "power, hit, speed player."

The Yankees will have company if Cespedes, believed to be 26, is declared a free agent, which will occur, an MLB spokesman said Tuesday, after his residency paperwork is approved.

Torre on Posada

Joe Torre said Jorge Posada is "like a son to me," but that he doesn't know what he will do next season. "It's really tough when you've played with one team and create relationships that he has all these years," said Torre, who was at a benefit last night honoring David Wright. "It's probably going to be tough to think about going somewhere else."

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