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Dodgers backing off Cuban infielder?

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Nine days ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly were closing in on a multi-year contract worth $32 million with Cuban free-agent infielder Alexander Guerrero.

Now, it's unclear how heavily the Dodgers will remain involved in the negotiations for Guerrero, according to major league sources.

The initial talks, first reported by MLB.com, never reached fruition in part because the players' union had not certified Guerrero's agent, Rudy Santin. The union only approves deals negotiated by certified agents.

Guerrero, 26, since has hired Scott Boras as his agent and is free to talk with all 30 clubs. But the Dodgers, at least for the time being, no longer are willing to sign Guerrero for $32 million, sources said.

The team's position might simply be strategic, a way of preventing Boras from using that figure as a baseline for his talks with other clubs. The Dodgers' need for Guerrero hasn't changed.

Guerrero, 5-foot-11 and 205 pounds, is an offensive player who could hit 15 to 18 home runs and produce 70 to 75 RBI per season in the opinion of some major-league executives.

He defected from Cuba earlier this year, established residency in Haiti and then started training in the Dominican Republic, according to MLB.com. On Sept. 6, the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control cleared him to sign with a major-league team.

The Dodgers' mere interest in Guerrero is another indication they are unlikely to pursue New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano in free agency this offseason.