MLB

Ramos kidnapping will not deter Montero

Jesus Montero (Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)
Jesus Montero still plans on spending time in Venezuela this offseason.
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Jesus Montero is a young major league catcher who spends much of his offseason in Valencia, Venezuela.

So when Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped at gunpoint outside his home in Valencia on Wednesday, it made a powerful impact on the Yankees' prospect.

"He's my friend, and I feel sad," Montero said. He learned of Ramos' release Friday after speaking with Ramos' mother. "I've known him a long time and I was truly worried," Montero added. "When I saw the news, I was crying a little bit ... Thank God he was OK."

Ramos was returned to his family unharmed Friday, despite being surrounded by gunfire when police commandos rescued him and arrested four alleged abductors.

The kidnapping was a striking reminder of the dangers major league players often face when they go to Latin America, either to spend time at home or play winter ball.

Montero, who lives about 10 minutes away from Ramos, said, "It teaches me things. You've got to be careful where you go or where you are. Venezuela is not easy. You've got to know where you're at and you'll be good."

But what happened to Ramos is evidence that even staying close to home does not guarantee safety. Montero still intends to spend about a month in his native country before heading to Miami in January to work out with Alex Rodriguez and hitting coach Kevin Long at Rodriguez's home.

Montero does not plan on changing how he lives in Venezuela, but admits he is going to be on edge. And he knows other players might think twice before playing there.

"It's not easy for people that are from [the United States] that go there," Montero, who was signing autographs at a Last Licks ice cream store in Scarsdale on Saturday. "Now they know all [what happened] and they know Venezuela is not easy because of the [Ramos] situation. But what can I say? Now they think, 'I don't want to go there, it's scary.' I'm from there and I'm scared."

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Tagged: Yankees, Nationals, Wilson Ramos

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