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Yasmani Tomas, top Cuban baseball player, defects

Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas has defected.

Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas has defected. Credit: AP

HAVANA -- Cuban authorities say hard-hitting outfielder Yasmani Tomas of Havana's powerhouse ballclub Industriales has defected.

Communist Party newspaper Granma said Friday that he left the island "through unscrupulous, illegal human trafficking."

According to, Tomas hit .286 last year with 15 homers, 45 runs scored and 60 RBIs.

The website says he is "without doubt the 'slugger' of the team."

A number of Cuban baseball players have defected over the years, tempted by the prospect of multimillion-dollar contracts with Major League Baseball clubs.

This year Cuba began letting active players sign lucrative temporary contracts in foreign leagues such as Japan and Mexico.

New York Sports