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Rays OF Dayron Varona has emotional reunion with family in Cuba

Dayron Varona hugs niece Meliza.

WILL VRAGOVIC / TAMPA BAY TIMES

Dayron Varona hugs niece Meliza.

20

March

Cuban-born Rays OF Dayron Varona had an emotional reunion with eight family members upon arrival at the team hotel in Havana late Sunday.

Varona was teared up as he greeted his relatives, including his sister and young niece, Meliza.

When Varona, accompanied by his mother, left Cuba in 2013 to see a pro baseball career he did not know when, or if, he would see his family members again.

"It's something that I can't believe is happening,'' said Varona, with tears in his eyes. "Even hugging my niece there, it's something I can't put into words. To have an experience like this right now is pretty unbelievable.''

Varona's family gathered in the lobby of the Cohiba Melia and waited more than two hours until the team arrived just before 11 p.m. Camera crews from CNN and ESPN were among a large group of media waiting as well.

Varona, who signed with the Rays last May, had been hoping to make the trip but the Rays didn't get final approval from the Cuban government that he would be allowed to come back - and to leave - until Saturday.

"It was not even a definite that I was going to be here really until the last minute when we found out, fortunately, that I not only would be allowed to come into the country but be allowed to leave to go back to the States afterward,'' Varona said through team interpreter George Pappas. "It's really unbelievable to see everyone here.''

 

 

 

[Last modified: Sunday, March 20, 2016 11:46pm]

    

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