For Yoenis Cespedes, the nightmare is over.
The Oakland A's slugger, who defected from Cuba in the summer of 2011 and signed with the A's one year ago, was recently reunited with his family after having just sparse contact with them over the past year.
Jane Lee of MLB.com writes that Cespedes was in contact with his family about 10 times during the first four months of the 2012 season, but at one point he lost touch for several days. So not only was Cespedes living in a new country and playing in a new league, he did not know the whereabouts of his family.
"They just disappeared," Cespedes said of his family.
Cespedes' relatives fled to the Dominican Republic, but in October they were mistakenly captured in a raid and detained as illegal immigrants in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Finally, after months of struggle, the group has arrived in Miami. Over the weekend, Cespedes made a surprise visit to see his mother and other loved ones.
"No one knew I was coming," Cespedes said. "Everyone was sleeping, so I turned on all of the radios, all of the TVs. Nobody woke up, so I went upstairs and started knocking on all of the doors and screaming."
The family's reunion was cut short, as Cespedes had to fly back to Phoenix to be with his team. But he plans on having his family with him in Oakland for Opening Day.
When Cespedes returned to A's camp, ever reporters noticed the difference in how he was carrying himself:
"I'm very happy," said a noticeably relieved Cespedes, openly engaging with reporters in a way never seen before. "So much happiness."
(H/T to Larry Brown Sports)