published Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Convicted Cuban sues L.A. Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig breaks his bat as he hits a single against the San Francisco Giants.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

MIAMI — A lawsuit seeking $12 million from Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig says he and his mother lied to Cuban authorities about a plan to smuggle the player out of the country.

The suit filed in Miami by Miguel Angel Corbacho Daudinot lists Puig and his mother Maritza Valdes Gonzalez as defendants. Corbacho Daudinot is serving a seven-year sentence of "prolonged detention and torture," which he alleges was caused by Puig and Gonzalez saying he was trying to hatch a plan to smuggle Puig out of Cuba.

Corbacho Daudinot was convicted in 2010.

Puig, who began this season with the Chattanooga Lookouts, attempted to defect several times before signing with the Dodgers last year. The $12 million Corbacho Daudinot seeks is equal to the signing bonus Puig received in his $42 million, seven-year deal.

The suit was filed in Miami in large part because Puig and his mother maintain their permanent residence there, according to court documents.

The Dodgers have said the team will have no comment about the allegations.

Corbacho Daudinot said Puig and his mother "conspired with ... the Cuban government" to "tortiously, intentionally, willfully, wantonly, maliciously, knowingly, recklessly and negligently" cause his prison sentence, some of which was served under what he described as inhumane conditions. He's serving the rest of his sentence at home with many restrictions including limited travel and monthly reports with penitentiary officers.

Corbacho Daudinot said he once lent an associate $100 in Cuban convertible pesos, which that associate gave to Puig. Corbacho Daudinot said he never spoke with Puig and never heard of him again until his arrest on a human trafficking charge.

Corbacho Daudinot said Puig and his mother testified that he offered to take the ballplayer out of Cuba and to the Dominican Republic. After he was convicted, Corbacho Daudinot appealed to no avail.

Corbacho Daudinot "is paranoid, he cannot sleep and he does not enjoy life. He lives with the constant awareness that he has no rights, that anything he does can be construed as evidence of a crime, and that his very life can be taken from him at any time," according to the lawsuit.

Before his defection, Puig rarely played outside Cuba, but he excelled with the Cuban team Cienfuegos during the 2010-11 season, batting .330 with 17 home runs, 47 RBIs and a .430 on-base percentage in just 327 at-bats while mostly playing center field.

The 6-foot-3 slugger sat out a year for disciplinary reasons possibly related to his attempts to defect. He eventually established residency in Mexico before being signed by the Dodgers.

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