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Major league catcher kidnapped in Venezuela

Wilson Ramos, a 24-year-old who just finished his rookie season with the Washington Nationals, was taken away in an SUV by four armed men.

Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos.
Washington Nationals' Wilson Ramos.
Image: Matt Slocum/AP/Press Association Images

PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER Wilson Ramos, a catcher seen as one of the young building blocks for the Washington Nationals, was abducted by gunmen yesterday from his home in his native Venezuela.

Ramos, a 24-year-old who just finished his rookie season, was taken away in an SUV by four armed men in Santa Ines in central Carabobo state, the spokeswoman for his Venezuelan League team, the Aragua Tigers, said on her official Twitter account.

“This is sad, worrisome and true that Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped,” Katherine Vilera wrote.

She said Ramos was taken at 6:45 p.m. at his home in the region 95 miles (150 kilometers) west of Caracas. She said police were notified.

A person close to Ramos’ family, who asked not to be quoted by name out of safety concerns, said the catcher was at home with his father and brothers when several men “entered the house and took him away.”

“As of this hour, there has been no contact” between the kidnappers and Ramos’ family, the person said.

Drew Storen, a relief pitcher for the Nationals, tweeted his concerns: “Extremely upsetting news about Ramo. Thoughts and prayers with him. Scary situation.”

Spokesmen for the Nationals did not respond immediately to phone and email messages last night.

Ramos is considered one of the Nationals’ key young players as they try to become a contender in the National League East.  Washington acquired Ramos from the Minnesota Twins in a trade for All-Star relief pitcher Matt Capps in July 2010.

The abduction appeared to be the first case involving a Major League Baseball player.

But in Venezuela, which is home to dozens of major league players, the families of wealthy athletes have been periodically targeted by kidnappers in hopes of a hefty ransom.

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