- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2012

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona has been arrested for allegedly using a false identity in the Dominican Republic, where officials are contesting his real name and birthdate.

A police spokesman said Carmona was arrested Thursday outside the U.S. consulate in Santo Domingo. Carmona had gone there to renew his visa so he could return to the United States. Indians pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to training camp in Goodyear, Ariz. next month.

Maximo Baez Aybar said Carmona’s real name is apparently Roberto Hernandez Heredia and he’s 31, three years older than the pitcher claimed. The Indians list Carmona’s birthday as Dec. 7, 1983, in their 2011 media guide.

“We were recently made aware of the situation that occurred today in the Dominican Republic and are currently in the process of gathering information,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “We are not prepared to make any additional comment at this time.”


Carmona’s agent said he was caught off-guard by the arrest and that there are Dominican lawyers working on the player’s behalf. He did not disclose the names of the lawyers.

“This took us by complete surprise,” agent Jay Alou said. “What we have to do now is wait to find out the process that has to be done with the consulate with this new identity in order to see if he can get a new work visa.”

Carmona’s arrest is the second involving a major leaguer in four months in a false identity case. Miami Marlins reliever Leo Nunez was arrested in September. Last month, an apologetic Nunez said he falsified his identify when he was young so he could play professional baseball. Nunez’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s 29, a year older than listed in the Marlins’ media guide.

Carmona was the Indians‘ opening-day starter last season. The right-hander finished 7-15 with a 5.25 ERA in 32 starts, and the club picked up his $7 million option for 2012 in October.

Carmona’s career in Cleveland has included extreme highs and lows.

After going 1-10 in 2006, he came out of nowhere to win 19 games for Cleveland in 2007, shocking the Indians who had briefly experimented with him as a closer. Carmona, though, followed up with a disappointing 2008 season, and in 2009 the club sent him to the lower minors to work on his mechanics.

Carmona rebounded to win 13 games in 2010 in manager Manny Acta’s first season. Although he didn’t have a winning record last season, Carmona stayed healthy, didn’t miss a start and was expected to be part of the starting rotation this season. He has been pitching winter ball in the Dominican.

The Indians signed Carmona to a four-year contract in 2008. The club has options on him for 2013 at $9 million and 2014 at $12 million.

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Associated Press writer Dionisio Soldevila in the Dominican Republic contributed to this report.