Joe Benson talks about being robbed in Venezuela

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We learned a couple of months ago just how dangerous Venezuela can be for a ballplayer when Wilson Ramos was kidnapped.  Before that happened, however, Twins’ prospect Joe Benson was robbed at gunpoint while taking a taxi.

That story got lost in the Ramos shuffle, but Fox has an interview with Benson about it all and it paints a pretty harrowing picture:

“When you don’t speak the language, there’s not much you can do,” Benson said. “You can’t really beg for your life. You can’t ask them not to pull the trigger. You can’t beg for mercy. I kind of sat there in silence, let everything happen.”

In my imaginary baseball-playing life, I play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Pirates release Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli
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The Pittsburgh Pirates just announced that they have released catcher Francisco Cervelli. No waivers, no DFA. Just his unconditional release.

Cervelli had been on a rehab assignment in the minors in his efforts to come back from a concussion. He had been sidelined since May, and there had been no timeline for his return, but he played in a minor league game as recently as Monday.

Over the summer, however, Cervelli voiced doubts about his ability to continue catching in light of the six concussions he’s weathered over the last decade. At one point he said he could not catch again but then walked it back. Whether his release was requested and whether Cervelli plans to end his big league career is not yet known.

I’m sure we’ll hear more about this soon.

UPDATE: Um, OK. Based on this I guess it’s more of a matter of the Pirates simply not wanting him anymore: