A cloak of astonishment covers the minds of baseball fans in Cienfuegos, 240 miles southeast of Havana, after knowing the news of the desertion of their most admired hitter, first baseman Jose Dariel (Pito) Abreu.
Abreu would be in Dominican Republic after circumventing coastal surveillance of Imías in the province of Guantanamo, from where he left Cuba accompanied by his closest family, except his wife and infant son.
The slugger’s departure (120 homers in the last four national championships) caught by surprise to Cuban baseball officials and fans, because there was no evidence suggesting the possibility that Pito was to leave Cuba until last week.
Even in recent days he had expressed the intention of joining the training of his team, after concluding the recovery from intercostal pains that prevented him from being called to the matches against U.S. university players.
Weeks ago, Pito’s father stated in La Peña, a program of the provincial radio station Radio Ciudad del Mar, that some negotiations to allow the recruitment of his son in South Korean professional baseball had begun.
Abreu´s abrupt decision adds to Cuban baseball talented players who decide to leave the country’s official tournaments and go in search of higher incomes, which could be appreciated in recent weeks through the desertions of pitchers Odrisamer Despaigne and Misael Siverio.