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Mother of Pirates’ Diaz kidnapped in Venezuela

The mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz has been kidnapped in Venezuela.

On Thursday, the Pirates issued a statement confirming Venezuelan media reports that Ana Soto, Diaz’s mother, was in danger.

“We are all shocked and deeply concerned for Elias’ mother, as well as for Elias and his entire family,” team president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “We have Elias’ mom and Elias’ entire family in our prayers. We are using all of the resources available at the Pirates and Major League Baseball to support Elias and his family during this incredibly difficult time.

“As we work with authorities on his mom’s safe return, we will withhold further comment and ask that you please respect the family’s need for privacy.”

Diaz, 27, reportedly is in the United States as Pirates’ pitchers and catchers prepare to report to spring training next week. He hit .223 with one home run and 19 RBIs in 64 games last season.

This is not the first time kidnappers have targeted Venezuelan athletes or their relatives. In 2009, then-Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba waited in anguish as his 11-year-old son was rescued from kidnappers. Former Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in 2011 but later was found alive and unharmed after an air rescue.

–Field Level Media

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