Reports: Nats' Ramos kidnapped in Venezuela

Reports: Nats' Ramos kidnapped in Venezuela
November 10, 2011, 1:10 am
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Updated at 12:04 a.m.

Wilson Ramos was kidnapped from his home in Venezuela this evening, according to multiple reports out of the Nationals catcher's home country.

According to the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, four gunmen approached Ramos at his home in the Santa Ines section of the city of Valencia and took him away. Family members have informed police but have not yet heard from the kidnappers.

The Tigres de Aragua, the Venezuelan team Ramos played for last winter, posted the news on its Twitter account this evening. Translated from Spanish, the tweet reads: "Unfortunately the news of the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos was confirmed, allegedly the same happened at his home in Valencia."

The Nationals have not yet confirmed the report, but a club official said the team is gathering information and will make a statement once it knows more.

Jose Grasso Vecchio, president of the Venezuelan Winter League, issued a statement condemning the kidnapping and said security forces will work with "special brigades" to find Ramos. Vecchio also announced that he spoke with representatives of Major League Baseball to make them aware of the situation.

Tigres president Rafael Rodriguez posted on his Twitter account around 10 p.m. EST: "I'm at Wilson's home, hopefully everything goes well. Prudence and moderation is important." Speaking later to reporters outside Ramos' home, Rodriguez said: "Besides being a Venezuelan baseball player beloved by the fans, at stake is the life of a human being."

Ramos had not played yet this winter after appearing in 113 games with the Nationals, but he was due to join Aragua's roster tomorrow.

The 24-year-old is believed to be the first active major leaguer to be kidnapped, though players' families have been victims in the past. In most cases, the family members returned home safely.

Catcher Torvit Torrealba's son was kidnapped in June 2009 and released one day later. Former pitcher Ugueth Urbina's mother was held captive for five months in 2005 before being rescued. Former pitcher Victor Zambrano's was abducted in 2009 and rescued three days later.

Several other members of the Nationals organization are playing in Venezuela this winter, including big leaguers Jesus Flores and Henry Rodriguez. No one else from the organization, though, is currently playing for Ramos' team.

Four league games were being played as scheduled this evening, including one involving Aragua. Flores was in the starting lineup for Magallanes and played the entire game, going 0-for-2 with two walks.