Two Cuban baseball players defect to U.S. while in North Carolina

Baseball The Cuban national baseball team lost a pair of players when two members defected while in North Carolina.Third baseman Luis Yander La O and outfielder Yadiel Hernandez left the Cuban team just as relations between Cuba and the U.S. were thawing. MORE: Cuban players in | Injured woman sues Marlins for fake 'shark attack'"We have our ways and they have their ways," Cuban player Yosbany Torres told Raleigh TV station WRAL. "But we all have a love for baseball. It's in our blood and it always will be. When can reach a mutual understanding, very good things will come. "Our main objective is to play. And the friendship, the friendship that is flourishing between our countries."The Cuban n

ational team was in the middle of a three-game tour through North Carolina with games in Durham, Charlotte and Cary. The two players left the team Friday.The 25-year-old La O hit .329 in the Cuban league last season for Santiago. Hernandez, 28, had a .355 average for Matanzas this season."I can't place myself in their positions because my convictions doesn't provide for that, but in Cuba we've provided for them freely through education and sports and a bunch of other things that go along with the game," Victor Mesa told Charlotte media through a translator Saturday. "I can't understand why they would do this."The players that left, left on their own. They didn't stay with the remainder of the team, and all that does is give the remaining players the strength to continue moving forward."The pair are the latest Cuban players to defect this year, with four players leaving for Canada and three going to Japan. The friendly series is supposed to be a tune-up for the Pan Am Games that start next week in Toronto.

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