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July 10, 2009

Cuba acknowledges top pitcher's desertion

Cuba has acknowledged the desertion of baseball pitcher Aroldis Chapman, a week after he walked away from a tournament in the Netherlands.

The Communist Party daily Granma said Friday that Chapman has contracted baseball agent Jaime Torres to represent him. Cuba previously had said nothing about Chapman's desertion, despite widespread media coverage in exile-dominated Miami.

The 21-year-old Chapman attracted international attention during the World Baseball Classic with a fastball of up to 100 mph. He is considered among the top left-handed pitchers in the world, and the best pitcher to abandon Cuba since Jose Contreras left in 2002.

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