TORONTO . It has taken a long time, but Adeiny Hechavarria finally has his paperwork in order and is cleared for travel outside the United States, general manager Alex Anthopoulos says.
The Cuban defector, a prime prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays, missed two games with Triple-A Las Vegas to deal with “citizenship-type situations,” manager John Farrell said Tuesday.
Farrell’s comments raised speculation that Hechavarria still had not obtained the documents that would allow him to travel to Canada. When asked about the subject again on Wednesday, Farrell said he did not know whether Hechavarria would be able to come to Canada if the Blue Jays decided to call him up.
“I wish I had more for you on the specific details to that,” Farrell said. “I just know that he was going to be two days away to take care of the process at hand.”
But Anthopoulos said later in the day that Hechavarria’s paperwork is definitely in order. If the Jays wanted to put him on the big-league roster at the end of spring training, they could have, and they can call him up any time they choose, Anthopoulos said.
Hechavarria returned to his Las Vegas team, which was playing in Tucson, on Wednesday afternoon.
The 23-year-old prospect might have earned a September call-up last year but he was still working on obtaining citizenship and could not travel to Canada.
Over the winter, Hechavarria was invited to attend the Jays’ mini-camp for prospects at the Rogers Centre. He could not make it. His paperwork was still incomplete, he told club officials.
During spring training in February, he met with Anthopoulos and Farrell in Dunedin, Fla. Afterward, Farrell told reporters that Hechavarria said he had completed the citizenship process.
This week, speculation suggested Hechavarria might be called up to fill in for shortstop Yunel Escobar or second baseman Kelly Johnson, both of whom are nursing nagging injuries. If one goes on the disabled list, club officials would “probably have a lengthy internal discussion about Hech,” Farrell said Tuesday.
The Blue Jays considered calling up Hechavarria on Monday, but chose Mike McCoy instead because of Hechavarria’s commitment elsewhere to deal with citizenship-related issues. At any rate, they would not call up Hechavarria unless he had an opportunity to play every day, Farrell added.
Hechavarria defected from Cuba in 2009. In April 2010, the Blue Jays signed him to a four-year, US$10-million contract.
Defensively, he is major-league ready. He is batting .316 with a .368 on-base percentage at Las Vegas.