Baseball Star Thankful to Be Alive After Venezuela Kidnapping

Posted November 12th, 2011 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Major League Baseball player Wilson Ramos says he is thankful to be alive after being kidnapped in his home country of Venezuela.

Venezuelan police rescued the 24-year-old Washington Nationals catcher on Friday, two days after armed men abducted him from outside his home in the city of Valencia.

Ramos tells the media the forces who freed him in an exchange of gunfire did a great job.

The athlete had not been seen or heard from since he was seized and taken away in a vehicle Wednesday night.

He says his kidnappers held him in the mountains and told him little during the ordeal, but that he knew they were Colombian from their accents.

Venezuelan officials say at least three people have been detained in connection with the kidnapping.

They say Ramos was found in the mountainous region of Montalban and that President Hugo Chavez ordered the airborne rescue operation.

The baseball star told Venezuela's Globovision television Saturday that his abductors had not harmed him physically, but had greatly hurt him “psychologically.” He said he would start playing baseball again as soon as he feels good.

Ramos had recently returned to his homeland to play with his winter league team, the Aragua Tigers.

Relatives of U.S. major league players have been kidnapped in Venezuela in recent years, but not players themselves.