The 28-year-old posted a photo on Twitter with American flag, saying, “Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen.”
Puig’s journey to the United States was long, dangerous and complicated. A star on the Cuban national team, he made four attempts to defect from Cuba before being successfully transported out of the country by an alien-smuggling-and-boat-theft ring with links to the Mexican cartel Los Zetas. He subsequently faced death threats and extortion attempts as a result of his escape.
Thank you 🙏 God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen 👌🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/346P6g89LX
— Yasiel Puig (@YasielPuig) August 14, 2019
He went to Mexico first, because if he had gone directly to the U.S., he would have been subjected to the Major League Baseball draft. He established residency in Mexico, allowing himself to negotiate a lucrative free-agent contract. Puig signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Dodgers in June 2012, a record for a Cuban defector. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in December 2018 and came over to the Indians on July 31.
A career .277 hitter with 131 home runs and 398 RBIs over seven seasons, Puig has gotten off to a good start with the Indians, hitting .357 with a home run and six RBIs in 11 games. He is currently serving a three-game suspension for his part in a brawl when he was with Cincinnati.