Monday, February 19, 2018
Sports

Cuban star conflicted

JUPITER — Jose Fernandez was very interested in the Rays' exhibition game against the Cuban national team Tuesday afternoon in Havana.

Fernandez, the Marlins' 23-year-old, Cuban-born ace, tried to escape his home country multiple times until he finally did successfully on his fourth try in 2008 — a journey that nearly cost his mother her life.

So though he sees it as an opportunity for the people of his native land to watch American professional baseball up close, the former Alonso standout feels plenty still needs to change for it to have a true impact.

"Hopefully this is the beginning of change over there," Fernandez said. "We all have our concerns about what is going on there. It gives you some hope when things like this happen and you see the President (of the United States) over there now.

"But a lot still has to change."

Fernandez, who was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, fled the island when he was 15 with his mother and sister.

DODGERS LOSE ETHIER: Outfielder Andre Ethier will be out 10-14 weeks after fracturing his right tibia. Ethier, the projected starter in leftfield this season, was injured after fouling a ball off his shin Friday.

GIANTS: General manager Bobby Evans met with representatives of first baseman Brandon Belt to discuss a potential multiyear contract. Belt, 27, will be eligible for arbitration after this season and can become a free agent after the 2017 season.

ORIOLES: Right-hander Kevin Gausman reported he feels better two days after he received a cortisone injection to treat tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.

RED SOX: Right-handed reliever Carson Smith has a strain in his forearm and will start the season on the disabled list.

ROCKIES: Rookie right-hander Jon Gray, who was penciled into the starting rotation, left with an abdominal injury after facing three batters. He was set to have an MRI exam.

TIGERS: Left-hander Daniel Norris left his start in the first inning with lower back tightness. … DH Victor Martinez took batting practice for the first time since straining his left hamstring a week ago.

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