O's batting practice pitcher Arias becoming American citizen

March 22, 2012|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Orioles batting practice pitcher Rudy Arias will leave the team Thursday to travel to Miami and be sworn in as a United States citizen Friday.

Arias, 55, moved to the U.S. from Cuba when he was just a few years old and his father was playing baseball in the states. He grew up in Miami and maintained his Cuban citizenship.

“I never felt living in Miami, I needed it,” Arias joked.

But when Arias worked for an independent club in Winnipeg a couple years ago he always slowed up the process going across the border – and he was chided by his old manager for that. But he was also encouraged by his family and friends – including Orioles manager Buck Showalter – to become a U.S. citizen for his own purposes. It’s especially important to Arias because his father, who is 80, will be at Friday’s ceremony

“It’s great to me, my family. My dad always wanted me to be an American citizen because my sister was born here,” he said. “I love [Cuba] and all the history behind it, but I’ve lived here all of my life and I’m thrilled and honored.”

It will be a big few weeks for Arias. On April 21, he will be inducted into the Miami High Hall of Fame. Arias graduated from the school in 1975 and was a standout baseball player.

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