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Cuban pitcher Contreras pays visit to homeland

Wednesday - 1/30/2013, 2:40pm  ET

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.


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