Cuban bullpen catcher Ivan Prieto Gonzalez defects following World Baseball Classic loss to USA
Cuban bullpen catcher Ivan Prieto Gonzalez defected from Cuba following the national team's loss to Team USA in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Miami.
The news was first reported by the Miami Herald. The outlet said the Cuban team was scheduled to depart Miami International Airport Monday following the team's loss at loanDepot Park Sunday night, but before the flight took off, Gonzalez wasn't on the plane and stayed in Miami.
Major League Baseball officials confirmed news of Gonzalez’s defection to USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale.
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Who is Ivan Prieto Gonzalez?
The 26-year-old was the bullpen catcher for the Cuban baseball team during the WBC.
Gonzalez played eight seasons in the Cuban National Series, the country's top professional baseball league, with the Sabuesos de Holguín and Alazanes de Granma. In that time, he hit .291 with 13 home runs and 102 RBIs in 257 career games.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: WBC: Cuban bullpen catcher Ivan Prieto Gonzalez defects in Miami