Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz’s mother rescued after kidnapping

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

Zulia state Gov. Omar Prieto announced Sunday evening on his Twitter account that 72-year-old Ana Isabel Soto was rescued earlier in the day by judicial police, state police and other security officers.

Prieto said in a second tweet that he has ordered state police to investigate a police anti-drug team for alleged involvement in the kidnapping. He gave no other details, but Venezuelan media said five officers had been arrested in the case.

In 2016, then Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in Venezuela. Ramos was seized at gunpoint outside his family’s home in the city of Valencia and was rescued by police commandos two days later in the mountains of Carabobo state. Venezuelan authorities formally charged eight suspects in connection with his kidnapping.

A friend from Venezuela sent me this picture of @Pirates catcher Elias Diaz’s mom after she was saved from her captors / Un colega de Venezuela me envió esta foto de la madre de Elías Díaz después de ser liberada tras su secuestro ¡Enhorabuena! pic.twitter.com/qzLo5O1H63

The Pirates confirmed on Thursday that Diaz’s mother was missing and said the team was working with Venezuelan officials to secure her safe return.

Pirates President Frank Coonelly released a statement that day saying they were using all available resources to support Diaz and his family and working with the authorities to ensure his mom’s safe return.

Team officials gave no specifics on the case, but Venezuelan media said the 24-year-old player’s mother was kidnapped by three armed men at her home in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles (700 kilometers) west of Caracas.

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Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.

Updated 3 hours ago Ana Soto, the mother of Pirates catcher Elias Diaz, has been rescued after being kidnapped in Venezuela last week, according to multiple reports from that country.

US ballplayer’s kidnapped mother is released

Reports say at least six people were arrested Saturday after confessing they were involved in the kidnapping. Five of those arrested were police officers, including one who lived next door to Diaz.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in a Thursday visit to the border with Venezuela: ‘I want to repeat to President Maduro – this is the result of your policies, it is not the fault of Colombians and it’s the result of your refusal to receive humanitarian aid which has been offered in every way, not just from Colombia but from the international community.’

Venezuela holds five police for abducting US ballplayer’s mother

They reportedly told authorities where they could find Diaz's mother. She was located safely Sunday morning and taken to a medical center for treatment.

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Mother of Elias Diaz Has Reportedly Been Rescued

The Pirates have not released a statement confirming these reports. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training in Bradenton, Fla., Monday. The first workout is Wednesday.

In 2011, the Venezuelan sports world was shocked by the kidnapping of MLB catcher Wilson Ramos, then with the Washington Nationals and now playing for the Tampa Bay Rays. The kidnappers were caught and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Mother Of Pittsburgh Pirates Catcher Elias Diaz Kidnapped In Venezuela

Venezuelan media reported the kidnapping last Thursday. Pirates president Frank Coonelly released a statement that day saying they were using all available resources to support Diaz and his family and working with the authorities to ensure his mother's safe return.

This is not the first time kidnappers have targeted Venezuelan athletes or their relatives. In 2009, then-Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba waited as his 11-year-old son was rescued from kidnappers. Former Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in 2011 but later was found alive and unharmed after an air rescue, according to Huffington Post.

‘We have Elias’ mom and Elias’ entire family in our prayers. We are using all of the resources available at the Pirates and Major League Baseball to support Elias and his family during this incredibly difficult time.

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On Thursday, Colombia and Brazil clamped down on border controls with Venezuela as a mounting influx of hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants flee desperate food and medicine shortages.

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