Braves nearing minor league deal for Cuban catcher Bello

The Braves are nearing a minor league deal for Cuban defector Yenier Bello, a personal familiar with the situation confirmed.’s Jesse Sanchez first reported the deal was close to being finalized.

Bello, 29, was cleared to sign in late January after defecting from Cuba following the 2011 season. He’s known for his power potential and hit .274 with 13 home runs over a 90-game schedule in his final season for Cuba’s La Serie Nacional.

The Braves don’t have immediate major league needs at catcher, with three catchers expected to break camp on their major league roster. Evan Gattis is slated as the starter, with Gerald Laird his primary backup, and Ryan Doumit available as a third catcher. The Braves also have Christian Bethancourt, one of their top prospects, waiting in the wings as their potential catcher of the future.