Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Trio made $15M to smuggle Cubans: feds

MIAMI — Cuban baseball players paid a South Florida smuggling ring more than $15 million to leave the communist island in secretive ventures that included phony documents, false identities and surreptitious boat voyages to Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, federal prosecutors say.

A recently unsealed grand jury indictment against three men provides fresh details about the smuggling of 17 Cuban players, among them White Sox 1B Jose Abreu and Mariners OF Leonys Martin. The smugglers usually took a percentage of any major-league contract a player signed.

The indictment names Bartolo Hernandez, a Weston sports agent whose clients included Abreu; Hernandez associate Julio Estrada, who runs Total Baseball Representation and Training in Miami; and Haitian citizen Amin Latouff of Port-au-Prince, who is not in U.S. custody and remains in Haiti. They are charged with conspiracy and illegally bringing immigrants to the U.S.

Estrada, who was arrested last week, has pleaded not guilty and is free on $225,000 bail. Hernandez pleaded not guilty when originally charged in February and is also free on bond.

Estrada's lawyer, Sabrina Puglisi, said in an email Tuesday that he has never been involved in illegal human smuggling.

"He has always taken care of his players, training them so that they could achieve their dream of playing MLB in the United States," she said.

NO PENALTY FOR GESTURE: Tigers OF Tyler Collins will not be suspended by Major League Baseball for directing an obscene gesture at booing home fans in Detroit after losing a ball in the lights Monday night. An MLB spokesman confirmed that Collins won't face a suspension. Collins extended his left middle finger and waved it from right to left and appeared to yell an obscenity at the fans. He apologized afterward, saying he "lashed out completely inappropriately" and was "embarrassed" about what happened.

BLUE JAYS: INF Matt Dominguez was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, and RHP Drew Hutchison was optioned back to the minor leagues. Everyday 3B Josh Donaldson started at DH Monday because of lingering soreness after being hit on the left leg by a pitch Saturday.

METS: C Travis d'Arnaud was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right rotator cuff. Former Rays C Rene Rivera was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas.

RANGERS: Ace RHP Yu Darvish, who is coming back from March 2015 Tommy John surgery, threw a second live batting practice session and said he wants to do another before starting a minor-league rehab.

TWINS: Heralded RHP prospect Jose Berrios is getting called up from Triple-A Rochester and could make his debut tonight. … RHP Ervin Santana (lower back strain) and Kyle Gibson (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list.

Comments
Something to consider before watching the new Tonya Harding movie

Something to consider before watching the new Tonya Harding movie

The three most compelling sports stories of our lifetime:The incredible rise and destructive fall of Tiger Woods. The life and times of O.J. Simpson.And Tonya vs. Nancy.The rivalry between 1990s figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan was so ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
AAC drought persists for Bulls as Knights showdown nears

AAC drought persists for Bulls as Knights showdown nears

Aside from the occasional foray into March Madness (or at least the NIT), USF men's basketball typically has hovered between the mediocre and miserable.But this winter, the Bulls are flirting with the historic.Though roughly 40 percent of the season ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
O.J. Simpson won’t move to Florida after all, lawyer says

O.J. Simpson won’t move to Florida after all, lawyer says

LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson is not planning to move from Nevada to Florida like he told state parole officials before he was released in October from Nevada state prison, his Las Vegas lawyer said Thursday. The 70-year-old former football hero, acquitt...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

Long-distance appreciation from Guy Toph winner Michael Penix Jr.

TAMPA — Being handed the Guy Toph trophy — which has been awarded to Hillsborough County's top football player every year since 1939 — is a pretty big deal.Winners love smiling for photo after photo while holding up the big, old, go...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Buccaneers on Hard Knocks: Moments that are even funnier, weirder and sadder now

The Buccaneers on Hard Knocks: Moments that are even funnier, weirder and sadder now

We’re now five months removed from the Buccaneers’ appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks. We went back and rewatched the series and found it to be even more entertaining the second time. Here are some of the highlights:1. Ready for launch...
Updated: 3 hours ago
New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

New school, same coaching style for Renaldo Garcia

Berkeley Prep's Renaldo Garcia still is the same coach. He still bellows instructions from the sidelines. His players still are methodical on offense, efficient on defense.The only difference is Garcia now wears navy and Columbia blue instead of gree...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Life is good for Jonathan Marchessault.The former Lightning forward is thriving for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which recently signed the undrafted forward to a six-year, $30 million deal. Marchessault's wife is expecting their third child, a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether that player is currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.Center Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch in the Li...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USF announces 3-game football series with Louisville

USF announces 3-game football series with Louisville

USF announced Thursday it has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — Coach Charlie Strong's former team — starting in 2022, giving the Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.USF visits Papa J...
Updated: 5 hours ago
This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

This 66-year-old is about to run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents

When Robert Owens’s father was 75, he gave his son some advice. "He said, ‘You know, son, the sad part is when you get old they just put you on a shelf and you become irrelevant. Fight to stay relevant. Fight to stay in the game, otherwise they will ...
Updated: 5 hours ago