HAVANA (AP) - Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne has reportedly defected while in Europe with the country’s national team.
Communist Party newspaper Granma says Despaigne abandoned the squad at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport during a layover en route to a baseball tournament in the Netherlands.
The 26-year-old Despaigne is an eight-year veteran who played for Havana powerhouse ball club Industriales. Last season the right-hander recorded a 5-2 record in 12 starts.
Defections are common by Cuban ballplayers, lured by the prospect of multimillion-dollar contracts in Major League Baseball.
Granma did not say Tuesday when he defected. It reported the news in the last paragraph of a story about a 7-0 Cuba loss to Holland in Rotterdam.