White Sox’s Abreu: I ate fake pass­port on way to U.S.

2014 Rookie of Year tes­ti­fies in Cuban smug­gling case.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - Wire ser­vices Wed­nes­day’s Games (At) Light­ning 4, Hur­ri­canes 3 (OT): (At) Black­hawks 4, Pen­guins 1: NHL notes Trad­ing dead­line: Bruins: To­day’s Games Fri­day’s Games

Chicago White Sox first base­man Jose Abreu told a Mi­ami fed­eral jury Wed­nes­day that he ate a chunk of a fake pass­port while fly­ing to the U.S. to cover up his il­le­gal travel as part of a Cuban ballplayer smug­gling op­er­a­tion.

Abreu tes­ti­fied he or­dered a beer on an Air France flight from Haiti to Mi­ami and slowly con­sumed the page con­tain­ing a false name and his photo. Abreu said he trav­eled il­le­gally be­cause he was wor­ried he would miss an Oc­to­ber 2013 dead­line and lose the $68 mil­lion con­tract he later signed with Chicago.

“We had to be in Chicago to sign the con­tract,” Abreu told ju­rors.

The tes­ti­mony came in the trial of sports agent Bar­tolo Her­nan­dez and trainer Julio Estrada, who are ac­cused of alien smug­gling and con­spir­acy. They al­legedly op­er­ated a ring that took Cuban play­ers from the com­mu­nist-gov­erned is­land to coun­tries where they could sign lu­cra­tive MLB con­tracts once they es­tab­lished res­i­dency.

Abreu, who was AL Rookie of the Year in 2014, tes­ti­fied un­der a grant of lim­ited im­mu­nity.

Abreu told ju­rors he got the fake pass­port in Haiti, where he had been taken with his fam­ily from Cuba by speed­boat in Au­gust 2013. His main con­tact and fixer there was Amin La­touff, he said, a man who was in­dicted with Her­nan­dez and Estrada but who has not been ar­rested.

It was La­touff, Abreu tes­ti­fied, who got him the pass­port and booked the flight, telling the ballplayer to de­stroy the doc­u­ment on the plane. But in­stead of tear­ing it up and toss­ing it in the garbage, Abreu said he or­dered a Heineken and chewed it up in his seat.

Right-han­der Luke Weaver, who made eight starts last sea­son, left Wed­nes­day’s 6-1 win over the Mets with back spasms in the eighth in­ning af­ter re­tir­ing the first two bat­ters and fall­ing be­hind 3-1 in the count to his third hit­ter.

With Matt Car­pen­ter now at first base, Jhonny Per­alta and Jedd Gy­orko are com­pet­ing for the third-base job in Car­di­nals camp. A three-time All-Start short­stop, Per­alta had not played third base reg­u­larly since 2010 un­til mak­ing the switch

Car­di­nals: ■

last year. Gy­orko, a util­ity in­fielder who led the Car­di­nals with 30 homers last year, has made just 38 starts at third in four big league sea­sons. “It’s just an open com­pe­ti­tion,” GM John Mozeliak said. “The chess pieces move. Ul­ti­mately we’ve got to de­cide what we think our best club looks like.”

Catcher Chris­tian Bethancourt pitched a per­fect eighth in­ning in Wed­nes­day’s 5-0 win over the Athletics, part of an ex­per­i­ment at giv­ing him dou­ble duty this year. He threw 11 pitches, seven for strikes.

AL MVP Mike Trout got two hits and was hit by a pitch from Texas’ A.J. Grif­fin in the An­gels’ 3-2 win Wed­nes­day. Trout has reached base in all five of his plate ap­pear­ances this spring. Also, the An­gels are 5-0 this spring, and are un­beaten in their last 16 ex­hi­bi­tion games (14-0-2) dat­ing to last year. “And we lost 88 in be­tween,” man­ager Mike Scios­cia joked.

For­mer catcher David Ross, who re­tired last fall af­ter help­ing Chicago win the World Se­ries, will be the first ma­jor lea­guer to ap­pear on “Danc­ing with the Stars.” Cubs man­ager Joe Mad­don said this will be “the first time I’ll ever watch that show.”

Padres: An­gels: Cubs:

Tues­day’s Games

Vic­tor Hed­man scored his sec­ond goal of the game 46 sec­onds into over­time, and An­drei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves. Nikita Kucherov got his sec­ond as­sist on the win­ning goal.

Pa­trick Kane had his sec­ond hat trick in three games, and Scott Dar­ling made 36 saves for Chicago.

Detroit ac­quired a third-round pick and sel­dom-used de­fense­man Dy­lan McIl­rath from Flor­ida for for­ward Thomas Vanek . ... Los An­ge­les picked up for­ward Jarome Iginla, 39, from Colorado as he seeks a Stan­ley Cup in what could be his fi­nal sea­son . ... Pitts­burgh shored up its back end when it ac­quired de­fense­man Mark Streit from Tampa Bay.

De­fense­man Colin Miller will not be sus­pended for his hit that forced for­ward Alex Bur­mistrov to leave the ice Tues­day night on a stretcher.

JOE ROB­BINS / GETTY IM­AGES

The Phillies’ Aaron Altherr slides safely into third base with a three-run triple in the fourth in­ning of Wed­nes­day’s 5-5 tie with the Rays.

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