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For Valdes, a long journey to the majors

It took six tries to leave Cuba, seven years to get to the majors

Updated: April 12, 2010, 10:03 PM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

Raul Valdes failed five times to defect from Cuba before finally landing ashore in the Dominican Republic on New Year's Day 2003.

The left-handed pitcher spent the next seven years trying to reach the major leagues. His brother Jorge has spent a nearly identical time period in jail in Cuba for helping ballplayers defect from the country.

"He's still in prison," said Valdes, whose major league debut came Sunday at age 32, with two scoreless innings for the New York Mets in relief of ...

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