• Frank Coonelly releases statement on Pirates catcher's mother's rescue after kidnapping

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    CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan authorities say police have rescued the mother of Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz three days after she was kidnapped.

    Zulia state Gov. Omar Prieto announced Sunday evening on his Twitter account that 72-year-old Ana Isabel Soto was rescued earlier in the day by judicial police, state police and other security officers.

    Prieto said in a second tweet that he has ordered state police to investigate a police anti-drug team for alleged involvement in the kidnapping. He gave no other details, but Venezuelan media said five officers had been arrested in the case.


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    The Pirates had confirmed on Thursday that Diaz's mother was missing and said the team was working with Venezuelan officials to secure her safe return.

    Pirates President Frank Coonelly released the following statement Monday morning:

    “The Pittsburgh Pirates are relieved and overjoyed to learn that Elias Diaz’ mother, Ana Soto, has been rescued and safely reunited with her family. We are incredibly grateful for the swift and effective work of the local law enforcement officials in Venezuela who brought this terrifying act to the safe conclusion for which we had all prayed. As an organization, we will continue to support Elias and his family as they move forward together.”

    Team officials gave no specifics on the case, but Venezuelan media said the 24-year-old player's mother was kidnapped by three armed men at her home in San Francisco, a city about 430 miles (700 kilometers) west of Caracas.

    Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh in 2017, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs.


     

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