U.S. attorney’s office charges three people with conspiring to kidnap and extort Leonys Martin

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Jay Weaver of the Miami Herald reports that the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami has charged three people with smuggling Cuban prospects into the United States, including smuggling, kidnapping, and extortion charges specifically related to Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin.

According to Weaver two of the accused–Eliezer Lazo and Joel Martinez–are already serving prison sentences for money laundering convictions and the third–Yilian Hernandez–was arrested yesterday by Homeland Security and the FBI.

Martin left Cuba in 2010 and signed a $15.5 million contract with the Rangers, making his MLB debut in September of 2011. He was smuggled into the country through Mexico and Lazo and Martinez previously filed a civil lawsuit against Martin claiming they’d served as his management agency and he failed to pay them. Martin counter-sued them claiming it was an “illegal scheme” involving extortion and holding him hostage until “ransom” money was paid.

It’s a pretty crazy story overall, so definitely check out the entire write-up in the Miami Herald.

Braves sign David Hernandez

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Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.

Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.

Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.