Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Touch 'Em All: Reports: Puig threatened by human traffickers

Precocious Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has received death threats from human traffickers who orchestrated his 2012 defection from Cuba to Mexico, according to media reports.

Puig was held against his will at an island off the coast of Mexico until a rival ring, hired by a Miami businessman, executed a successful late-night raid to get Puig to Mexico City, according to two reports, including a story in ESPN The Magazine. He was granted residency by the Mexican government, and he signed shortly thereafter with the Dodgers.

After receiving a $12 million signing bonus, Puig reportedly paid 20 percent of his $42 million contract's value to the Florida group that brought him to the United States.

"There's some serious stuff that he has to deal with," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Thursday. "I think you have to worry about it if you care about him as a person."

The Dodgers' front office has declined to comment on the newly revealed details of Puig's defection. A security detail that has been traveling with the Dodgers since mid-June, days after Puig arrived from double-A Chattanooga, ESPN reported.

Puig has declined to discuss his journey from Cuba. After Thursday's 2-1 win over the Giants, he said through an interpreter "I feel normal. I'm focusing on baseball, and I'm giving my best for my team so things go well on the field with the preparation I've had, so those things that are happening don't torment me."

Yankees on the mend

Mark Teixeira could be back in New York's lineup Sunday. The first baseman walked twice, struck out, and scored a run Thursday, in his first extended spring- training game since injuring his right leg. Teixeira is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list Sunday, when the Yankees finish a four-game series vs. Tampa Bay.

Infielder Brendan Ryan, on the disabled list with a pinched nerve, says he will play in his first extended spring-training game Friday and hopes to rejoin the Yankees within two weeks.

Closer David Robertson had a bullpen session and is scheduled to pitch in an extended spring-training game Saturday. On the disabled list with a groin strain, Robertson is expected to return Tuesday.

Sick Bay

Nationals righthander Doug Fister threw two innings at extended spring training in Florida and could join Washington in about three weeks, "assuming all goes well," manager Matt Williams said. Fister is on the disabled list with a strained back muscle.

St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly has been put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring. Kelly got hurt trying to beat out a bunt in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He is 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA in three starts this season.

Firecracker injures fans

At least five people were hurt when a fan threw a firework onto a walkway at the San Francisco Giants ballpark Wednesday, during a Dodgers-Giants game, police said.

Paolo Pavone, 21, was booked on suspicion of willfully discharging and possessing an explosive, and discharging a firework in a public place.

- Inquirer wire services

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