Aroldis Chapman sued for $18 million for … working with the Cuban State Security apparatus?!

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Arolids Chapman defected from Cuba, presumably seeking freedom and fortune in the United States.  Someone, however, is suing Chapman, alleging that when he was back in Cuba, he worked with the Cuban State Security apparatus and helped organize the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of a Cuban-American by the name of Danilo Curbelo García.

This report comes from a pair of Miami-based Spanish language papers (here and here) that our friend Nick Collias of MLB Trade Rumors read and translated for us.  Obviously it’s impossible to know the truth behind any of this now, but here is the essence of the lawsuit — filed in U.S. Court pursuant to the Alien Tort Claims Act — which seeks $18 million:

“Chapman conspired with unidentified agents from the repressive State Security and with the Cuban government to violate the established law of nations, and provoke the arbitrary and prolonged detention and torture of the plaintiff [Curbelo Garcia].”  …

Here’s Curbelo Garcia’s wife, Maylén Turruellas Méndez, quoted in the latter report, describing events which allegedly occurred:

“My husband only praised him as an athlete and told him that in the US he could earn millions,” Turruelas explained. “Days later, the police showed up at his parents’ house and told him that he was under investigation. Later, they arrested him. To this day, I’m convinced that Chapman was working with State Security. It’s known that he had a meeting with Raul Castro. My husband isn’t the only one imprisoned because of Chapman. He was the principal witness in the case, and his statement was full of lies. That’s the only way they’d let him return to the Cuban team.”

The family’s lawyer Avelino Gonzalez told Ebro that both Chapman and his father testified in Cuba against Curbelo Garcia, leading to his arrest for “attempted human trafficking.”

The implication is that after Chapman’s original defection attempt, which failed, he informed on Garcia in order to get back on the Cuban national team.

These are obviously explosive allegations.  I’m sure that Chapman, his agent and his attorneys will have something to say about it soon.  In the meantime, stay tuned.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.