The much anticipated professional debut for highly touted Cuban shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria will be made on Friday night for Dunedin as the Blue Jays take on the FSL North Division leading Clearwater Threshers at 7 p.m. at Dunedin Stadium.
The 21-year-old Hechavarria was officially signed on April 13 after months of courtship with a number of Major League teams, finally deciding to come to terms with Toronto on a 4-year, $10 million Major League contract, which included a team-record $4 million signing bonus.
Since being signed by the Blue Jays, Hechavarria has been at the Mattick Training Complex in Dunedin getting assimilated to the American lifestyle and working out with the Blue Jays Extended Spring Training team.
Hechavarria is expected to be with Dunedin for a short while before seeing time at Double-A New Hampshire. His play with the Fishercats will then dictate his path to the Major Leagues either with a September call-up this year or a shot at the shortstop job in 2011.
It will be a busy night at Dunedin Stadium on Friday, as it will not only mark Hechavarria's pro debut, but the start of a Major League rehab assignment for Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion was placed on the 15-Day disabled list on April 15 with a sore right shoulder and has since been recovering at Mattick Training Complex, playing in Extended Spring Training as a designated hitter for a short while before moving to his normal third base position.
Encarnacion joins fellow Major Leaguer Jesse Litsch with Dunedin. Litsch pitched well in his first rehab start this past Tuesday against Palm Beach, throwing seven scoreless innings as Dunedin shut out the Cardinals, 7-0.
A Pinellas Park, FL native, Litsch will make his second start with Dunedin this Sunday, May 16 when the Blue Jays host the Bradenton Marauders at 1 p.m. Litsch is making his comeback from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow last June.
Friday night's game with the debut of Hechavarria and the start of a rehab assignment for Encarnacion can be heard live on www.DunedinBlueJays.com starting at 6:50 p.m. for the pregame.
For more press information, please contact Tim Livingston at (727) 738-7027 or by e-mail at Tim.Livingston@bluejays.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.