Posted 7/5/12 at 1:16 AM

Alexei Ramirez reunites with family, catches first pitch from pops

Alexei Ramirez has been playing baseball in the US for five years. Prior to this week, his parents had never seen him take the field live in a Major League uniform.

The shortstop defected from Cuba in 2007, leaving his family and venturing into a new country alone.

On Sunday, Alexei and his parents were reunited for good in Chicago. Armando and Edith Ramirez have permanently moved to the US and will split their time between Chicago and Florida. They took in their first game at US Cellular Field on Tuesday, and Alexei caught a ceremonial first pitch from Armando on Wednesday.

"When I saw them, there was just a lot of crying and a lot of hugging," Alexei said. "It was a lot of love. It was great."

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