December 08, 2011
Anyone reading this probably is having a better week than Juan Carlos Oviedo, the Miami Marlins relief pitcher formerly known as Leo Nuñez.
Police in Oviedo's native Dominican Republic arrested him Thursday for using a false identity, the Associated Press is reporting (in Spanish). Earlier this week, the Marlins announced the signing of Heath Bell to a free-agent contract that would marginalize Oviedo's role in Miami, where he had been used as a closer. Yeah, not the best of times for Juan Carlos "Leo Nuñez" Oviedo, as this photo tweeted by Daniel Rufenacht shows:
Hoo boy. Larry Beinfest, Miami's president of baseball operations, said at Bell's press conference that the team intended to retain Oviedo, who is arbitration-eligible. That was before the arrest, however.
Oviedo had returned to his homeland in September to sort out the legal nightmare that ensued from his identity switch and, presumably, to help authorities break the criminal operation that helped him change his name and age. The AP story says it's something of a "surprise" that Oviedo was arrested and will face trial, considering his apparent cooperation.
It obviously is illegal there and in the United States to falsify your identity, and Oviedo is facing the full range of consequences as a result. But if I had grown up in the D.R., and thought I could make my life better in the U.S. by doing what he did, I might have done the same thing. Not having walked a mile (or kilometer) in Oviedo's cleats, I can't say for sure.
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