Tom Gage of the Detroit News has gathered the few details that have been made publicly available:
The Tigers confirmed Sunday that the family of relief pitcher Brayan Villarreal was the target of an unsuccessful armed kidnapping on Friday night in Venezuela.
No members of Villarreal’s family were harmed, however, and the incident won’t require him to leave spring training.
Gage adds on his personal Twitter feed that gunfire was involved while noting again that “all ended well.”
Villarreal, a native of Vargas, Venezuela, posted a superb 2.63 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 54 2/3 innings last season for the American League Central-champion Tigers. He is scheduled to make a relief appearance in Monday’s Grapefruit League game vs. the Braves, though it’d be understandable if that were pushed back.
It has been less than two years since Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos — who was born in Carabobo, Venezuela — got taken captive in his home country. Authorities found and freed him about 48 hours later.
The Miami Marlins have been stockpiling international bonus money of late and now that has paid off, as they just formally announced the signing of top international prospect Victor Victor Mesa.
They have also signed his brother, the less-regarded prospect Victor Mesa, Jr. It was, presumably, a package deal. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Victor Victor, 22, will receive about $5.25 million while his 17-year-old brother gets a $1 million bonus.
Victor Victor was ranked as the No. 1 player in this year’s international signing class. He’s a plus outfield defender with a strong arm and he has serious wheels as well. He played for Matanzas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional when he was only 16 and was 3-for-7 with two doubles for Cuba during last year’s World Baseball Classic.
Victor Mesa Jr. is a switch-hitting outfielder with potential, but unlike his brother, he’s like to spend considerable time in the minors. Most scouts believe Victor Victor will debut with the Marlins as early as next season.
The Mesa brothers are the son of Victor Mesa, who played in Serie Nacional from the 1970’s into the 1990s and starred on the Cuban national team. He has also managed in Cuba, in Mexico and for Cuba’s 2017 World Baseball Classic team.