ATLANTA — Rays infielder Yandy Diaz is showing his support for protesting residents of his native Cuba.
Diaz wrote SOS Cuba on his cap for Saturday night’s game against the Braves, which he is starting at third base.
Residents have been protesting about food and medicine shortages they say are caused by the communist government, and similar shows of support have been staged in U.S. cities, including Tampa.
“I feel bad,” Diaz said Saturday, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “I feel bad for my people in Cuba. It’s an unfortunate incident, and I’m just hoping everything goes well.”
Diaz said from what he has heard from friends and relatives in Cuba the situation is bad.
“Unfortunately, it’s not a good sight,” he said. “You know, there’s people dying. There’s adults, there’s kids dying out there. It’s very unfortunate. I’m hoping things will get better soon.”
By speaking out and making a visible statement on his cap he hopes to draw more attention to the issue.
“I’m Cuban,” he said. “I was born in Cuba. I’m always going to support it. I love the country. Everyone’s there to support me and I’m going to support everyone that’s there as well.”
Several of the Cuban players at the All-Star Game, including Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman and Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia, had messages on their caps.
Diaz said he hadn’t spoken directly with them, but knows that other players who left Cuba to come to the majors feel the same way.
“We all support each other,” he said. “Everyone in Cuba, I’m going to support. I’m here for them, anything they need. I love my country.”
Randy Arozarena, the Rays’ other Cuban player, declined to address the situation.
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