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  • WILL HERNANDEZ FAMILY REUNION TURN INTO A FAMILY FEUD?

              Marlins P Livan Hernandez said Sunday "that he doesn't
         understand" why his half-brother Orlando "El Duque"
         Hernandez hasn't accepted a visa from the U.S. and said that
         he hasn't be able to contact Orlando in the Bahamas since
         last Thursday, according to Javier Mota of the MIAMI HERALD.
    
         Livan: "It's as if he's been kidnapped."  Mota writes the
         family reunion "has turned into a dispute" with agent Joe
         Cubas, who has been in the Bahamas and hopes to land an
         "eventual major-league contract" for the Cuban pitcher. 
         Both Orlando and Alberto Herandez, despite being offered
         U.S. visas, are looking to establish residency outside the
         U.S. so they can become free agents and "avoid" MLB's
         amateur June draft.  But Livan said Orlando should come to
         the U.S., adding, "There are people who are filling his head
         with bad advice that could hurt him."  Cubas helped Livan
         defect, but stopped representing him in '96.  Cubas said
         Livan's "words disappoint me" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/5).  
              TOP PROSPECT? NEWSWEEK examines the "daring escape" of
         Hernandez, who was banned from playing baseball in Cuba in
         '96 after Livan defected.  Orlando said he "became a 'pawn'
         in an ideological war between a communist system that is
         losing control and aggressive U.S.-based sports agents and
         teams who hope to lure talent North" (NEWSWEEK, 1/12 issue).
    
         In Toronto, Richard Griffin wrote the defection "smacks of
         another money-grab" by Cubas, and added it will only hurt
         relations with Cuba, which is the "key" to MLB's "talent
         supply in the next century."  Griffin: "Baseball, thinking
         long term, should refuse to sign Hernandez" (STAR, 1/3). 
    
    

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