Renowned Cuban ump defects to US
Diaz a veteran of international competition
Renowned Cuban umpire Nelson Diaz defected to the United States on Sunday, The Associated Press reported on Monday.
The Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald originally reported that Diaz arrived in Miami on Sunday with his wife and two daughters.
Diaz worked the 2008 Olympics and the '06 World Baseball Classic and was slated to work the '09 Classic in Japan, but Cuban baseball officials told him he couldn't go because he couldn't be trusted.
Diaz worked as an umpire in Cuba for 26 years and also served as director of umpires for the Cuban Serie Nacional, which is the top baseball league in Cuba.
Diaz also has plenty of international experience, having been an umpire in the Pan-American Games in 1999 and 2007, the '01 Baseball World Cup and the '99 series between the Orioles and Cuba in Baltimore.
Diaz told the newspaper that one of the first things he did in the U.S. was place flowers at the tomb of his mother, who died in Miami before he could see her.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.