Jose Abreu testifies he ate his fake passport on the way to the U.S.

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The Associated Press is reporting that White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu testified to a Miami federal jury on Wednesday that he ate his fake passport aboard an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami. He washed the paper down with beer. When Abreu arrived in late October 2013, he signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox.

Abreu said, “If I had not been there on that particular day, the deadline, then the contract would not be executed and would no longer be valid. We had to be in Chicago to sign the contract.”

Abreu testified in the trial of sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, which is expected to last a few more weeks. Both are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy. According to the allegations, the duo took Cuban baseball players to other countries to eventually sign a contract in Major League Baseball after establishing residency. Abreu’s testimony came under a grant of limited immunity, which means he won’t be prosecuted as long as he tells the truth while he’s on the witness stand.

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin are among other players to testify in this trial.

Nick Williams has been trying to sell Jake Arrieta on the Phillies

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CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports that Phillies outfielder Nick Williams has been working out daily with free agent starter Jake Arrieta in Austin. The right-hander, who won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, still remains teamless with spring training less than a month away. Williams has been trying to sell Arrieta on joining the Phillies.

Williams said of Arrieta, “He loves it here [Austin]. He has told me he likes working with young guys. I’m like, ‘All right, come on up.’ But I’m not writing the check. I don’t know what he wants. I don’t really dig into that because I’m not really in his position.”

On GM Matt Klentak’s hunt for pitching help, new manager Gabe Kapler said, “The pursuit is very real. I have a lot of trust that we’ll either go in [to spring training] with a new toy or we will pass on the opportunity because we’re better off giving this collection of pitchers a really healthy look because we thought that we could go acquire that piece a little bit later on this season or in the offseason next year.”

Arrieta, who turns 32 years old in March, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA and a 163/55 K/BB ratio in 168 1/3 innings last season with the Cubs. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Brewers have been linked to Arrieta this month.

Presently, the Phillies’ starting rotation figures to include Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez along with some combination of Nick Pivetta, Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter, and Jake Thompson. Arrieta would certainly amount to a big upgrade in the starting rotation and could make the Phillies a more attractive landing spot for Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, who become free agents after the 2018 campaign. The Phillies are expected to be in the mix for either or both players.