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Kidnapped ballplayer Ramos found alive in Venezuela

posted 12 Nov 2011, 05:27 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Nov 2011, 05:28 ]

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos is free days after being kidnapped from his hometown.

CARABOBO, VENEZUELA (NOVEMBER 12, 2011)  (GLOBOVISION) - Days after being kidnapped in his native Venezuela, Major League baseball player Wilson Ramos was free on Saturday (November 12), after government authorities said they found him in the mountains near where he was seized.

The 24-year-old Washington Nationals catcher told a throng of reporters that he will get back on the pitch as soon as he is feeling up for it.

"As soon as I feel good, I will start to play and continue representing the country in the sport. They didn't hurt me physically but psychologically, they hurt me greatly," he said.

He had been due to play for the local Aragua Tigers during the U.S. off-season.

Ramos was abducted by armed men on Wednesday night while he chatted with friends and relatives at his mother's home in the city of Valencia, about 200 kilometres (124 miles) west of the capital city of Caracas.

On Friday, Information Minister Andres Izarra said on Twitter that he had been found alive by security forces in the mountains of Montalban, Carabobo state.

Kidnappings, armed robberies and murders are common in Venezuela, where worries about personal security routinely top surveys of voters' concerns before a presidential election next October.

Ramos' case particularly shocked this baseball-mad nation, putting huge pressure on the authorities to find him. He is one of the many players from Venezuela who have found stardom and wealth playing baseball in the United States.

Ramos is considered one of the more highly regarded catching prospects in baseball. He had a .267 batting average with 15 home runs and 52 runs batted in for the Nationals during the 2011 season, his first in the major leagues.