HAVANA (AP) — Hard-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas of Havana's powerhouse ballclub Industriales has defected, Cuban authorities said Friday.
News of Tomas' defection came in a single paragraph at the end of an article in Communist Party newspaper Granma, which interviewed national baseball director Higinil Velez Carrion about two games next month against a visiting U.S. collegian team.
"From the same source, Granma learned of the departure from the country, through unscrupulous, illegal human trafficking, of he who was a player for the Industriales team, Yasmani Tomas," the article read.
According to official statistics, Tomas hit .275 for Industriales last season with 10 home runs and 59 RBIs in the 90-game regular season and seven playoff games.
The website BaseballdeCuba.com, which is hosted in Florida and is not affiliated with the Cuban government, says he is "without doubt the 'slugger' of the team."
A number of Cuban baseball players have left their homeland over the years, tempted by fame and fortune in Major League Baseball.
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