Damaso Matías Espino Cedeño
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 210 lb.
Dámaso Espino is in his 9th minor league season in 2008.
Espino was signed by the Cincinnati Reds shortly after his 16th birthday. He hit .269/.318/.311 in 48 games for the 2000 GCL Reds but made 15 errors as a 3B-SS. In 2001, he batted .250/.292/.298 for the same club. He made major strides in 2002, splitting time between the GCL Reds (.332/.381/.430, 22 2B in 58 games, 8 steals in 9 tries) and Chattanooga Lookouts (4 for 12). He led the Gulf Coast League in doubles, was 6th in average, second in hits (74, trailing only Rajai Davis) and third in total bases (96, behind Davis and Travis Wong). Espino made the GCL All-Star team as the third baseman.
On March 6, 2003, Espino was traded with Alan Moye to the Kansas City Royals for Jeff Austin and Brian Shackelford. Dámaso was assigned to the Burlington Bees and hit .285/.377/.369 with 88 RBI, 4th in the Midwest League. Espino fielded just .899 at third but his 29 errors did not lead MWL third basemen.
In 2004, Espino played for the Wilmington Blue Rocks and produced a batting line of .255/.304/.319. He was moved to catcher the next year, which was split between the High Desert Mavericks (.231/.304/.275 in 25 games) and Burlington (.263/.329/.284 in 74 games).
Espino was on the Panamanian national team for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. On March 8, Dámaso played a key role in a comeback against the Cuban national team. Down 5-3 in the bottom of the 9th and with Javier Castillo at first, Espino pinch-hit for Vicente Garibaldo and singled to center against Yadiel Pedroso. He came home later in the inning when Earl Agnoly was hit by a pitch, forcing him in to tie the game at five. Espino stayed in to catch. In his only other at-bat of the Classic, he was retired by Shairon Martis as part of Martis's no-hitter.
In the regular season, Espino hit .242/.316/.253 in 54 games as a backup for the Wichita Wranglers. In 2007, he batted .260/.332/.333 for Wichita, getting about half the playing time at catcher. He started 2008 with the Omaha Royals but only hit .167/.286/.167 in 13 games as the backup to Matt Tupman. He was then sent to the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations.