Yasiel Puig Officially Becomes U.S. Citizen

Yasiel Puig is officially an American…

The 28-year-old Cuban-born Cleveland Indians, who defected from Cuba in 2012, became an American citizen on Wednesday.

Yasiel Puig

Puig posted a photo on Twitterwith the message: “Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen.”

Puig’s journey to the United States was long, dangerous and complicated. A star on the Cuban national team, he made four attempts to defect from Cuba before being successfully transported out of the country by an alien-smuggling-and-boat-theft ring with links to the Mexican cartel Los Zetas. He subsequently faced death threats and extortion attempts as a result of his escape.

He went to Mexico first, because if he had gone directly to the U.S., he would have been subject to the Major League Baseball draft. Puig established residency in Mexico, allowing him to negotiate a lucrative free-agent contract. Puig signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in June 2012, a record for a Cuban defector. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in December 2018 and came over to the Indians as part of a three-team deal on July 31.

A career .277 hitter with 131 home runs and 398 RBIs over seven seasons, Puig has gotten off to a good start with the Indians, hitting .357 with a home run and six RBIs in 11 games. He is currently serving a three-game suspension for his part in a brawl when he was with Cincinnati.


Puig is the fourth member of the Indians to become an American citizen this year, joining Carlos SantanaOliver Perez and Hanley Ramirez,who was waived in April.

Flores Wins Arbitration Case Against the New York Mets

Wilmer Flores is celebrating a big win off the field…

The 25-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball infielder defeated the New York Mets in the team’s first salary arbitration hearing since pitcher Oliver Perez won in 2008.

Wilmer Flores

Flores was awarded a $2.2 million salary on Saturday by arbitrators Mark Irvings, Sylvia Skratek and Robert Herzog, who heard the case a day earlier.

The Mets contended he should be paid $1.8 million. Flores made more than $526,000 last year and was eligible for arbitration for the first time.

Flores played all four infield positions last season. He hit .267, matched his career high with 16 homers and had 49 RBIs.

Teams are 3-2 in arbitration this year. Oakland outfielder Khris Davis also won, and Arizona pitcher Shelby Miller, Boston pitcher Fernando Abad and Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph lost.

Fourteen players remain scheduled for hearings, which run through February 17.

Perez won his hearing in 2008 and made $6.5 million instead of the team’s offer of $4.7 million.

Perez Traded from Arizona Diamondbacks to the Houston Astros

Oliver Perez is ready for an astronomical season…

The Houston Astros added help in the bullpen Friday night, acquiring the 33-year-old Mexican relief pitcher from the Arizona Diamondbacks for a minor league pitcher.

Oliver Perez

The trade was announced following Arizona‘s 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Perez joins a surprising Houston team that has a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League West and is trying to hold off the second-place Los Angeles Angels.

“They’re in a good spot right now,” Perez said. “I would love to help wherever they need.”

Perez, 33, is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 48 appearances this season. He leaves Arizona with a 19-game scoreless streak, tied for the third-longest in Diamondbacks history.

Perez said goodbye to teammates and Diamondbacks staff in the clubhouse late Friday. He can become a free agent after the season and didn’t rule out a return to Arizona, where he has a home.

“I know this team is going to be in the playoffs,” said Perez, who set a club record for strikeouts by a left-handed reliever with 76 last year.

Arizona gets 19-year-old lefty Junior Garcia in the deal and will call up another left-hander, Keith Hessler, from Triple-A Reno to fill Perez’s spot in the bullpen.

Garcia is 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA and 26 strikeouts in a combined nine games (six starts) between Class A Tri-City and rookie-level Greeneville.

The swap came a week after baseball’s deadline for trading players without placing them on waivers.

“I was taken by surprise,” Perez said. “Sometimes you feel nervous because, you know, you’re going to go to a new organization.”

Perez said he found out he’d been dealt right after Friday’s game ended.

“It’s a really good organization, and I know they’re going the right way,” Perez said of the Diamondbacks. “I’m just thankful for all the opportunity they gave me.”