by Steve Carney / 620 WDAE

He was signed with fanfare, but left without ever seeing a big-league field.

The Rays announced Friday that they have released first baseman Leslie Anderson so that he could pursue an opportunity in Asia.

Tampa Bay signed Anderson in February of 2010 to a four-year $3.75 million major-league contract after working out for the Rays.  Anderson defected from Cuba in September 2009, and his agent at the time compared him to Alexei Ramirez.

However, Anderson could never crack the big-league roster, and was designated for assignment in February 2011 to make room on the 40-man roster.  He ended up playing the next three seasons with the Triple-A Durham Bulls.

Anderson stood out in Spring Training in 2013, but could not secure a spot on the roster.  He hit .292 with 14 home runs and 74 RBI in Durham.