NEW YORK (AP) – Cuban infielder Juan Miranda and the New York Yankees agreed Friday to a $2.07 million, four-year contract.

He played with Pinar Del Rio in Cuba from 2002-04, and the Yankees said he hit .303 there with 27 homers, 73 walks and 87 strikeouts.

“He’s got some juice in his bat from the left side. We like him a lot,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

“He’ll start in the Florida State League and we’ll bring him along. We’re going to respect the transition process.”

Miranda, a 23-year-old former teammate of ex-Yankees pitcher Jose Contreras, grew up in Consolacion del Sur, Cuba, and lives in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

He gets a $500,000 signing bonus and annual salaries of $380,000 next year, $390,000 in 2008 and $400,000 in each of the final two seasons – all the major league minimums.

However, only $375,000 of each year’s salary is guaranteed.

“Juan Miranda has impressed our scouts with his talent and his strength,” Yankees Dominican Republic scouting supervisor Ramon Valdivia said.

“He is capable of playing the outfield and first base, but his biggest asset is his bat.

“He has the ability to hit for power while showing excellent plate discipline.”

Also, Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa took a physical Friday, part of the process of completing a $20 million, five-year contract. His agent, Arn Tellem, has been negotiating with the Yankees on performance bonuses that will be included in the deal.

Igawa’s contract must be finished by Thursday. The Yankees bid $26,000,194 last month to gain his negotiating rights but pay the money to his Japanese team, the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers, only if they reach an agreement by Dec. 28.

AP-ES-12-22-06 1513EST


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