Cuban sour on U.S. after three weeks

July 28, 1991

Less than three weeks after Rene Arocha defected to the United States to pursue his dream of major-league baseball, the Cuban ballplayer is disenchanted.

"I thought this was the land of opportunity," he said. "But it doesn't look that way to me right now."

Arocha, a member of the Cuban national baseball team for a decade, defected July 10 in Miami after a series of games against the U.S. team in Millington, Tenn. He left his wife and daughter behind in Cuba.

Arocha didn't know about a 1977 directive that forbids major-league clubs from signing Cuban players until they obtain U.S. resident status.

According to U.S. immigration laws, Cubans must wait a year and a day after their arrival before applying for a resident's visa.

But Arocha may have more than immigration laws to worry about. Baseball people who have seen him pitch in the past and work out recently at Grapeland Park in Miami are skeptical about the right-hander's ability.

* REDS: No disciplinary action is planned against third baseman Chris Sabo for pushing an autograph seeker, manager Lou Piniella says.

The incident occurred Friday night outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis after Cincinnati's 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. A witness, Alex Neuman, said Sabo and a fan scuffled when Sabo refused to sign an autograph.

Witnesses said the fan, not identified, did not appear to be injured. "There is no story," Sabo said when reached at the Reds' hotel.

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