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Cuban pitcher Contreras pays visit to homeland

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HAVANA (AP) - Jose Contreras has received a rousing welcome in his return to Cuba 10 years after defecting.

The major league pitcher is the first athlete to take advantage of a new migratory law that makes it easier for defectors who have long been considered traitors to visit their homeland.

Dissident Roman Catholic activist Dagoberto Valdes says Contreras received a hero's welcome in the western city of Pinar del Rio.

He says Contreras took pictures on Wednesday with fans in a park among hundreds of onlookers.

Contreras walked away while playing for Cuba in Mexico in 2002 and was signed by the New York Yankees a year later. He also played for the Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies.

The 41-year-old right-hander is a free agent.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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