After defecting from Cuba in 2012, Cleveland Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig has finally become an American citizen.
Puig, 28, announced the news on social media Wednesday, writing, “Thank you God for this great opportunity …”
Puig made four attempts to defect from Cuba before he was successful. At the time he was a player on the Cuban national team, but he didn’t go straight to the US. Instead, he set up residency in Mexico and signed a 7-year, $42 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers later that year.
After Puig escaped Cuba, he received death threats and extortion attempts from the human traffickers who orchestrated his departure to Mexico, according to reporting by ESPN. He played six seasons for the Dodgers before signing with the Cincinnati Reds.
Puig received his citizenship on the last day of his three-game suspension for his role in a July 30 brawl between the Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates. That same day, Puig was traded to the Indians.
Puig has a .263 batting average this season, with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs.