Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two top players depart Cuba in bid to play in US: report

Two top players depart Cuba in bid to play in US: report
17 hours ago

NEW YORK (AFP) — Cuban pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez
have departed their Communist island homeland in a bid to launch Major
League Baseball careers, ESPN reported on Monday on its website.

Citing unnamed sources, the US sports telecaster reported that relatives
and friends of the players in Cuba confirmed the duo had departed and
were in an unknown location but attempting to reach the Dominican Republic.

Players who become available through such nations as the Dominican
Republic are free agents and available to the highest bidder among the
30 North American clubs rather than having their rights assigned in a
draft like US collegians.

Marti, 29, was the star pitcher in Cuba's runner-up showing at the 2006
World Baseball Classic, the first global event with Major League
Baseball talent featuring players competing for their homelands.

Marti went 1-0 in the 2006 tournament with two saves and a 0.00
earned-run average while not allowing a run in 12 2.3 innings. The
Cubans lost to Japan in the championship game while the US hosts could
not even reach the semi-finals.

Gomez, 28, and Marti were teammates for Industriales of Havana but each
dropped for the current national series over serious infractions by
Cuban baseball officials.

ESPN reported that Marti and Gomez were banned from Cuban baseball after
being caught with others trying to board a boat to escape Cuba.

Marti has won 67 games with a 3.23 earned-run average with Industriales
while Gomez was the 1997 Cuban Rookie of the Year with a .331 career
batting average for Industriales but did not play in the 2006 Classic or
2008 Olympics.

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