Thursday Team USA will take on the Cuban national team at Principal Park in Des Moines. .
In Wednesday’s Des Moines Register, sports columnist Bryce Miller wondered aloud if a Cuban player might try to defect.
The answer is: yes.
Missing from the Cuban practice Wednesday evening is pitcher Misael Siverio.
The Miami Herald first reported that with the help of friends, Siverio defected from a West Des Moines hotel late Tuesday night.
A US representative has already welcomed Siverio to freedom on twitter.
Cuban officials declined comment.
The 24 year old Siverio told the Herald’s Spanish language sister paper he made a tough decision, but did what’s in the best interest of he and his family.
“Leaving is not easy, but this is a decision that I thought a lot about and I took for my future and my family,” Siverio said. “My dream, of course, is to get to the Majors, and will now begin to take steps to achieve it.”
The cuban blog, Café Fuerte, says it received a photo from Siverio Wednesday to show he’s okay, and seeking asylum.
He’s the second Cuban player to defect in a month.
Cuba and the United States renewed their series last year and this is the first game scheduled on American soil in 16 years.
Team USA practiced Wednesday afternoon and the college players can’t say enough about the honor to wear the red, white and blue.
“It’s an honor to wear the United States across your chest three times is just a dream come true,” says Alex Bregman.
The first pitch is scheduled for Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.