Rockies: Torrealba Son, Relative Safe After Kidnap
DENVER (AP) - The Colorado Rockies say catcher Yorvit Torrealba's 11-year-old son and his brother-in-law have been released after they were kidnapped in Venezuela.
The club said in a statement Thursday they were kidnapped by "unknown parties in exchange for ransom" but have been reunited safely with family. The statement didn't say whether a ransom was paid, how they were released or when the kidnapping occurred.
On Tuesday, Torrealba left the Rockies series in Houston to be with his family in Venezuela. He worked with police to secure the return of his son, Yorvit Eduardo, who turns 12 next month.
In the statement, Rockies club president Keli McGregor said the team was relieved by the outcome.
"Yorvit knows that he can take the time he needs and will rejoin the club when the time is right," McGregor said.
In South American countries such as Venezuela, home to dozens of major league players, the families of wealthy athletes are often kidnapped in hopes of getting a hefty ransom. The mother of former pitcher Ugueth Urbina spent more than five months in captivity until she was rescued in early 2005.
Around the same time, the mothers of five Brazilian soccer players were abducted in Brazil, including those of star strikers Robinho and Luis Fabiano.
The Rockies put Torrealba on their restricted list when he left for Venezuela. Edwin Bellorin was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take his place on the roster.
Because of Torrealba's situation, the Rockies didn't have to make a corresponding roster move.
Torrealba was hitting .230 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 19 games for the Rockies when he left. He had started six of eight games since starter Chris Iannetta was placed on the disabled list May 24 with a strained right hamstring.
Torrealba joined the Rockies in 2006 and played an integral role a year later in the club's first NL pennant.
His work with young Latin pitchers was lauded as a reason for Colorado's first trip to the World Series, where they were swept by the Boston Red Sox.