Yasiel Puig is an outfielder for Major League Baseball whose mysterious defection from Cuba in 2012 nearly overshadows his reputation as a heavy hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He grew up in Cienfuegos, and played for the Cuban national team in the 2008 World Junior Championship, where they won a bronze medal. He then played in the Cuban National Series, but a failed attempt at defecting to the United States had him out for a season as punishment. He then tried several more times to defect to Mexico (so as to get to the U.S. by land), finally succeeding in 2012. Puig signed with the Dodgers in 2012, then played in the Arizona Rookie League, where he batted .400 and hit four home runs in nine games. He was out for a while with elbow surgery (a staph infection) and played winter ball in Puerto Rico, and made his debut as a Dodger in June of 2013. In 2014, he batted .296 and had 16 homers and 69 RBIs; he was selected for the 2014 All-Star game. But Puig makes headlines beyond the sports pages, including two arrests for reckless driving and a court case originating from his defection from Cuba. The story goes that Puig escaped Cuba, then waited in Mexico until various shady financial deals had been made to get him into the U.S. A lawsuit against Puig was filed in 2013 by Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot, who claims Puig was an informant for the Cuban government. Puig testified against Daudinot in 2010, and Daudinot spent more than three years in prison for trying to smuggle athletes out of Cuba. The case was scheduled to be heard sometime in 2015.
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