Pirates express 'shock' after mother of catcher Elias Diaz kidnapped in Venezuela
The Pirates released a statement on Thursday
The mother of Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been kidnapped in their native Venezuela. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, multiple Venezuelan media outlets reported the news. According to those reports, Diaz's mother was kidnapped on Thursday afternoon in the Venezuelan state of Zulia.
On Thursday, Pirates president Frank Coonelly released the following statement through the team:
"We are all shocked and deeply concerned for Elias' mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family. We have Elias' mom and Elias' entire family in our prayers. We are using all of the resources available at the Pirates and Major League Baseball to support Elias and his family during this incredibly difficult time. As we work with authorities on his mom's safe return, we will withhold further comment and ask that you please respect the family's need for privacy."
Diaz, 27, has compiled 206 plate appearances across parts of three major-league seasons, all with the Pirates. Last season, he played in 64 game for Pittsburgh, and he projects to open the 2018 season as Francisco Cervelli's backup. Diaz has been a part of the Pirates' system since prior to the 2009 season.
Venezuela has for some time been on the brink of economic collapse under President Nicolas Maduro. As a consequence of those political upheavals, kidnappings have become all too common. Current Rays catcher Wilson Ramos was himself kidnapped in Venezuela in 2011 while a member of the Nationals organization.
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