Cuban team member reportedly defects in Miami following World Baseball Classic
Cuban team member reportedly defects in Miami following WBC originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
As the Cuban team boarded their plane back to Havana following a crushing loss to Team USA, Catcher Iván Prieto decided to defect in Miami, according to reports from various media outlets and specialized journalists.
Cuban Pelota's Francis Romero and Yordano Carmona released the information, which has been echoed by several media outlets, including the EFE news agency, which has tried to contact the baseball player or confirm the information with other sources.
Henry Morales, a journalist who covers Cuban baseball, said upon arriving at the hotel Sunday night, Prieto walked out and got into a car with his relatives. Prieto is believed to be the first Cuban to defect during a World Baseball Classic tournament.
Although Prieto was not the starting catcher for the Cuban team, the 26-year-old was a bullpen catcher.
According to El Nuevo Herald, Prieto played with the Alazanes de Granma in the Cuban National Series.
He played eight seasons in the island's domestic league and posted a career .291 average with a .773 OPS.
Cuban exile sources in Miami told EFE that they had received calls from Holguín, the province where he is from, advising that Prieto had stayed in the U.S.
One night after a thrilling quarterfinal win over Venezuela, Team USA defeated Cuba 14-2 eliminating them from the semi-finals in front of a sold-out crowd at loanDepot park in Miami on Sunday.
The game was met with mixed feelings by the South Florida community as protests erupted in Little Havana over the weekend.