U.S. Consulate backtracks on pardoning Fausto Carmona and Leo Nunez for falsifying their identities

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There appeared to be some good news for the men formerly known as Fausto Carmona and Leo Nunez earlier this week, as Dominican Today quoted William Weissman, consul general for the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, as saying the U.S. State Department could pardon Dominican baseball players caught with a false identity.

While many ran away with that one part of his statement, Weissman also said that he wasn’t speaking in reference to any particular case and indicated that players who turn themselves in should be treated differently. Still, with plenty of misinformation flying around, the U.S. Consulate has since clarified Weissman’s comments.

According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the U.S. Consulate said in a series of Tweets that the main point Weissman was trying to make was that all cases are dealt with individually and that the consequences of fraud include ineligibility to enter the United States for life.

Carmona (whose real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia) was caught while trying to apply for a travel visa last month while Nunez (now known as Juan Carlos Oviedo) turned himself in last September, but they are both currently cooperating with the U.S. government. However, it’s not yet known if they’ll be granted visas in time for spring training or the start of the season. And even if they are eventually granted entry into the United States, it’s possible they could face punishment from MLB.

Casey Kelly signs with the LG Twins in Korea

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We wrote a lot about Casey Kelly on this site circa 2010-12.

It was understandable. Kelly was a big-time draftee for the Red Sox and famously split time as a shortstop and a pitcher in the minors, with some people even wondering if he could do it full time. The Sox put the kibosh on that pretty quickly, as he became the top overall prospect in the Boston organization as a pitcher. He then made news when he was sent to San Diego — along with Anthony Rizzo — in the famous Adrian Gonzalez trade in December 2010.

He made his big league debut for the Padres in late August of 2012, holding a pretty darn good Atlanta Braves team scoreless for six innings, striking out four.  He would pitch in five more games in the season’s final month to not very good results but missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 thanks to Tommy John surgery.

He wouldn’t make it back to the bigs until 2015 — pitching only three games after being converted to a reliever — before the Padres cut him loose, trading him to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt who, like a younger Kelly, the Padres thought could be a two-way player, catching and relieving. That didn’t work for him either, but I digress.

Kelly made a career-high ten appearances for a bad Braves team in 2016, was let go following the season and was out of the majors again in 2017 after the Cubs released him a couple of months after he failed to make the team out of spring training. He resurfaced with the Giants this past season for seven appearances. The Giants cut him loose last month.

Now Kelly’s journey takes him across the ocean. He announced on Instagram last night that he’s signed with the LG Twins in the Korean Baseball Organization. He seems pretty happy and eager about it in his little video there. I don’t blame him, as he’ll make $1 million for them, as opposed to staying here and almost certainly winding up in a Triple-A rotation making $60K or whatever it is veteran minor leaguers make.

This was probably way too many words to devote to a journeyman heading to play in Korea, but we so often forget top prospects once they fail to meet expectations. We also tend to forget all of the Tommy John casualties, focusing instead on the Tommy John successes. As such, I wanted to think a bit about Casey Kelly. I hope things work out well for him in the KBO and a baseball player who once seemed so promising can, after a delay, find success of his own.