Son, brother-in-law safe after kidnapping
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Colorado catcher Yorvit Torrealba's 11-year-old son and brother-in-law were released by kidnappers a day after being abducted.
The two were abducted while driving to the boy's school along with a relative of the boy's mother, Venezuelan authorities said in a statement on Thursday.
The kidnappers demanded $466,000 in ransom, but none was paid, said Wilmer Flores Trossel, head of Venezuela's federal police.
He said police "established a circle" around the kidnappers after they seized the boy and his relatives on Tuesday morning, and the "pressure was fruitful." He didn't give details but said the abductors left the three along a highway outside Caracas on Wednesday night.
No arrests have been made, but police have identified six suspects and are searching for them, Flores Trossel said.
The Rockies said Torrealba learned of the abduction on Tuesday and immediately flew to Venezuela, leaving the team in Houston.
Torrealba's son, Yorvit Eduardo, turns 12 next month. Police identified the other two victims as Daniel Antonio Alvarez Morales, a 31-year-old brother-in-law of the major leaguer, and Agrey Alexander Marquez, a 27-year-old brother-in-law of the boy's mother.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy learned Wednesday night that Torrealba's son and brother-in-law were safe.
"I can't even begin to tell you, having children of my own, how gratified you are that everything has worked out," Tracy said Thursday before the finale of a four-game series in Houston. "Knowing how much he loves his son and knowing what he was going through when I talked to him a few days ago, it goes without saying that you are pleased when you get a phone call informing you that both Yorvit's brother-in-law and son have been recovered."
Tracy did not know when Torrealba would rejoin the team. Colorado opens a four-game series at St. Louis on Friday.
"Our organization is relieved," Rockies president Keli McGregor said in a statement. "Yorvit knows that he can take the time he needs and will rejoin the club when the time is right."
In Venezuela, which is home to dozens of Major League Baseball players, the families of wealthy athletes are periodically targeted by kidnappers. The mother of former pitcher Ugueth Urbina spent more than five months in captivity until she was rescued in early 2005.
Around the same time in Brazil, the mothers of five soccer stars were abducted, including those of star strikers Robinho and Luis Fabiano.
The Rockies put Torrealba on their restricted list when he left for Venezuela.
He was hitting .230 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 19 games. He had started six of eight games since starter Chris Iannetta was placed on the disabled list on May 24. Backup Paul Phillips has started in Torrealba's absence.
Torrealba joined the Rockies in 2006 and played an integral role a year later in the club's first National League pennant.
His work with young Latin pitchers was lauded as a reason for Colorado's first trip to the World Series, where it was swept by the Boston Red Sox.
The Rockies have lost their last two games since Torrealba left the team, and reliever Josh Fogg admitted that the situation was weighing on the players' minds.
"You still have to go out there and play, but there is something bigger than baseball," Fogg said. "Family definitely comes first and when another guy and his family are in trouble, you definitely think about it a lot, that's for sure."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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