The Cuban national baseball team arrived in Des Moines Tuesday in preparation for the first US-based extended series between the two countries since 1996. The exhibition — which begins tonight — pits the Cuban national team against American college stars in a five-game series that spans three U.S. cities.
Missing from tonight’s roster, however, is Cuban pitcher Misael Silverio. Shortly after arriving in Des Moines on Tuesday, the 24-year-old lefty — who is reportedly having one of the best seasons of his career — left his hotel room and never returned.
Shortly thereafter, Silverio announced his defection to El Nuevo Herald, sister publication of The Miami Herald.
In the Miami Herald‘s report, Silverio explains:
“It is not easy leaving behind what is yours, but after a giving it a lot of thought I made this decision for my future and for my family,” Silverio said. “My dream, of course, is to make the Major Leagues, and starting today I will start doing what I need to do to accomplish that.”
Silverio boasts a 1.9 ERA and has kept opposing batters to a .245 average this season according to the AFP. The pitcher also earned himself a shoutout from Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen via Twitter yesterday:
Just hours after landing in the U.S., #Cuban pitcher Misael Siverio defected from baseball team. Welcome 2 land of freedom + opportunity!
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) July 17, 2013
My guess? Silverio took one look at that lush Iowa landscape and made his decision right there on the spot.