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Former MLB stars caught up in largest drug bust in Dominican Republic's history

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pawel.gaul/iStock(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) — A three-time MLB All-Star and a veteran pitcher were among 21 people implicated in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday as part of what the country’s attorney general called the “largest operation in the history” of his office.

Luis Castillo, a second baseman who played for the Miami Marlins and New York Mets, among others, and Octavio Dotel, a relief pitcher most notably with the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox, were caught up in the sweep, according to Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez.

The operation allegedly funneled drugs from South America through the Dominican Republic as an intermediary before they arrived in the United States, according to the attorney general’s office.

The organization, organized with a “mafia structure,” was allegedly led by César Emilio Peralta, aka Cesar El Abusador, who Dominican authorities said is still on the loose. His top associates — Baltazar Mesa, José Jesús Tapia Pérez and Sergio Gómez Díaz — have been taken into custody.

There were 18 other people in the country who were swept up in the raids, which Rodriguez said took the efforts of 700 people, including 50 prosecutors, and agents from the National Drug Control Directorate and the Ministry of Defense.

“To enter and launder the illicit money obtained from drug trafficking, César El Abusador also created a complicated corporate framework to disguise the origin of his fortune, also using numerous individuals belonging to his family and social circle to hide his assets, including 2 sports figures of the Dominican Republic,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

The United States’ Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, Special Division of Transnational Organized Crime Investigation and the Department of Justice all assisted Dominican authorities in the bust.

Rodriguez said the United States has requested extradition of Mesa, Perez and Diaz.

Dotel was photographed at a police station in Santo Domingo Tuesday, but did not comment on his arrest. Castillo has not been taken into custody and his lawyer said he was living in Florida and had not been to the Dominican Republic recently.

“Mr. Castillo has not been arrested or involved in any drug ring, cartel, drug trafficking, money laundering, or other criminal conspiracy,” his lawyer, Alan Wilmot, said in a statement provided to several media outlets.

Castillo made the All-Star Game in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and finished with 1,889 career hits and 1,001 career runs scored. He is the Marlins franchise leader in career hits, at-bats, runs scored, triples and games played.

He won a World Series with the Marlins in 2003.

Dotel pitched for a record 13 teams in his 15-year career and won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

Castillo made an estimated $56.8 million in his career, according to Baseball Reference. Dotel made $41 million in his career.

The pair are not the only baseball players to recently be caught up in a drug trafficking scandal. Esteban Loaiza, who was briefly teammates with Dotel on the 2008 White Sox, was arrested in 2018 for possession of 44 pounds of cocaine he had trafficked from Mexico to his home near San Diego. He was sentenced to three years in jail in March.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Roger Clemens: 'No interest' in running for Congress despite GOP recruitment effort

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Allen Kee / ESPN Images(WASHINGTON) — Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens is “honored” by the encouragement to run for Congress, but he has ruled it out — blaming the “climate in politics.”

In a message written to current incumbent Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson — and obtained by ABC News — Clemens noted that he was “honored” Olson, who unexpectedly announced his retirement last month, “would consider me as a candidate to represent our great State of Texas in the 22 District, I have no interest in doing so.”

“The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake along with my family considerations,” Clemens wrote in a message sent to Olson last week.

Clemens, known by baseball fans as “The Rocket,” had been generating buzz as a potential Republican candidate for the open seat over the past two weeks, according to sources in Washington and Texas.

A spokesperson for Olson declined to comment on the race or share a copy of the congressman’s initial correspondence to Clemens.

Multiple sources predicted that Clemens, 57, would ultimately opt against entering the race in what could be a tough election cycle for the GOP in the Lone Star State. A candidacy filing period opens in Texas on Nov. 9 and closes on Dec. 9.

“People are talking him up, but from what we’re hearing he’s not going to do it,” a GOP campaign source told ABC News last week.

Another source added, Clemens had “not confirmed that he’s in, but his name is being tossed around.”

An aide at the National Republican Congressional Committee said that the House GOP’s campaign arm “hasn’t spoken directly to him.”

“Roger Clemens would be a good candidate, but we don’t need a celebrity baseball player to win it,” the aide said. “It’s Texas. We have a huge bench down there.”

So far, only one Republican candidate, Brazoria County Judge Greg Hill, has announced his intention to run for Olson’s seat, though additional candidates are expected to emerge in the coming months, sources said.

“No one was planning on Olson retiring,” the aide said. “There’s plenty of time for people to get ready to go and get in the race.”

“People around [Clemens] want him to run,” a national GOP campaign source said, adding that Clemens reemerged on the NRCC’s radar last week and was “fueled by Olson’s retirement announcement.”

“I can’t speak to motivations of people putting his name out there, whether they’re doing it on their own or at Clemens’ request,” the source added.

A Clemens spokesperson also told ABC News that he’s had an extensive travel schedule this summer, filled with charity and celebrity appearances.

Texas’ 22nd Congressional District has traditionally has been a solid Republican district, where President Donald Trump won by eight points in 2016.

Clemens has never run for political office, but has donated to other Republicans, including former Texas Rep. Ted Poe, according to a Congressional Quarterly report from 2007.

A source “familiar with the situation” who requested anonymity had “heard the same rumblings as well that he’s considering,” but added that Clemens had not taken any formal steps toward a campaign, such as filing, choosing a general consultant, naming a treasurer or building a team.

In 1992, Clemens and his wife Debra established The Roger Clemens Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children, especially at-risk children, through educational, charitable, literary, scientific and religious activities.

Despite a career that placed Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award winner, in the mix as the greatest pitcher of all-time, the two-time World Series Champion has not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame due to allegations that he used anabolic steroids late in his career, though he never failed a drug test.

Clemens testified before Congress on Feb. 13, 2008 to deny the allegations and was later indicted by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. on six felony counts, including perjury, false statements and contempt of Congress. After his case initially led to a mistrial, Clemens was later found not guilty on six counts of lying to Congress in 2012.

He currently serves as a special assistant to the general manager of the Astros, where he works with the team’s pitchers providing instruction and player evaluation.

Another former major league pitcher, Curt Schilling, has said he is exploring a congressional bid in Arizona. In 2016, he told ABC News’ “Powerhouse Politics” podcast that he was considering a run in 2018 against Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 8/20/19

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iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Tuesday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
NY Mets 9, Cleveland 2
Philadelphia 3, Boston 2
LA Dodgers 16, Toronto 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE
LA Angels 5, Texas 1
Baltimore 4, Kansas City 1
Seattle 7, Tampa Bay 4
Minnesota 14, Chi White Sox 4
Texas 3, LA Angels 2
Oakland 6, NY Yankees 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 4, Washington 1
Cincinnati 3, San Diego 2
Atlanta 5, Miami 1
Chi Cubs 5, San Francisco 3
St. Louis 9, Milwaukee 4
Arizona 8, Colorado 7

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Chicago 87, Atlanta 83
New York 82, Indiana 76
Las Vegas 84, Phoenix 79
Los Angeles 81, Minnesota 71

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Alex Rodriguez uses a fake Instagram or 'burner' account to follow his daughters

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bigtunaonline/iStock(NEW YORK) — Um, we have a feeling this won’t go over so well at home.

While on the “Chicks in the Office” podcast this week, Alex Rodriguez dropped a bombshell that his two daughters, Natasha and Ella, are sure to roast him for at home.

He not only revealed that his daughters screen what he posts on Instagram but that he uses a “burner,” or fake Instagram account, to follow their activity. He said they won’t let him follow them or see what they post.

“I have ways,” he said of seeing what his girls post. When asked if he has the “dad burner,” he replied, “Oh yeah.”

The former ball player-turned-investor said that his girls “are like the COO and the CEO of my social media.” They even have a “contract” with him to approve what he puts online.

He said they send him direct messages about his posts, writing, “Dad, are you serious?”

He admitted that he has no formula to his social media and “most of the time, I kind of cringe” after he posts something. But not as much as his beloved daughters.

Rodriguez also joked about how his daughters used to love it when he’d walk them to school. Now they make him drop them off “two blocks” away.

“Soon, they’ll be walking to class,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

15-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff says she hopes 'to be the greatest of all time'

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — At just 15 years old, Coco Gauff has become a household name in the tennis world after becoming the youngest qualifier in history to make the main draw at Wimbledon — and the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match in nearly 30 years.

At her first round match at the Grand Slam tournament last month, the teen defeated one of her tennis role models, five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams.

“I feel it’s harder to kinda wrap my head around it because I just looked up to her for so long,” Gauff told ABC News’ Robin Roberts. “Sometimes I’ll tell my dad like, ‘I got to play Venus. Can you believe it?’ So to me, it’s crazy.”

The high school student from Florida said she is still adjusting to the newfound fame after her performance at Wimbledon.

“It was crazy because growing up, I just thought about winning tournaments and playing Wimbledon and the Grand Slams, but I never thought about all that would come with it,” she said. “So I guess I kinda didn’t really prepare myself for it … I’m still getting used to it.”

Back home in Delray Beach, Florida, Gauff is back to work preparing for the U.S. Open.

She recalled the first time she picked up a tennis racket at the tender age of 6.

“I was at home when we lived in Atlanta, and the earliest tennis memory I remember is just me hitting against the garage,” she said. “I guess — that’s how I started.”

Despite garnering international attention for her performances on the court, Gauff said she is always focused on how she can improve her game.

“I always, like, try to push myself,” she said. “I know that I’m doing well. But I don’t tell myself, ‘oh, I’m pretty good I think,’ ’cause I think I can always improve.”

Gauff said that she is also always focused on winning when she competes.

“I won’t step on the court unless I think I can win,” she said. “I think it’s just silly for me to go into a match thinking that I’m gonna lose or thinking that I’m lucky to be here because it took a lot of work to be here.”

In many ways, her years of hard work and dedication are a family affair — her father, Corey Gauff, is one of her coaches and her mother, Candi Gauff, manages her schedule.

“They always fight over who … like, gave me the gifts,” Coco Gauff quipped. “My dad says I got the height from him. My mom says I got the legs from her and the speed from her. But then he argues that the speed is from him.”
 
Corey Gauff told ABC News’ Good Morning America that “as former athletes you look at the things that you could have done better.”

“So it gives you a chance when you have children to say, ‘Okay, these are some of the things I probably wouldn’t have done and so I want make sure you don’t do those things,'” the father explained. “And I think that’s why she’s able to be successful, because we always tried to give her the very best that we can afford so … if she decided not to play again, fine.”

“We’d be satisfied that we did our very best to give her the best opportunity to be successful,” he added.

Mom Candi Gauff also shared her advice for fellow sports parents, whether they are at her daughter’s competitive level or in little league.

“My biggest thing with her is to be grateful, be grateful that you have the opportunity … to play,” she said. “You have to be grateful and appreciative when you’re out there on that court and be humble.”

“So my biggest advice to parents is be appreciative that you are able to cheer your child onto victory or in defeat and be able to hug them if they lose,” she added.

For Coco Gauff’s proud grandparents, Eddie Odom Jr. and Yvonne Odom, watching her rise has been a thrill and a joy.

“Oh, I can’t believe it. I was teasing Coco. I said, ‘Look, G-ma can live off just the crumbs from your table,'” Yvonne Odom told GMA.

Eddie Odom Jr. added that he just tries to support his granddaughter as best he can.

“As far as I’m concerned … the mom and the dad … have made some really good decisions, and I know that. So whatever they’re asking me to do, I’m willing to do it,” he said.

Coco Gauff said she hopes to make a difference in the world on and off the court.

“My tennis dream, I guess, is to be the greatest of all time,” she said. “My dad always told me that ever since I was a little girl that one day I will change the world with my racket. So I hope that one day I can do that, and I’m already thinking of ideas on how I can.”

Off the court, Gauff said a “big focus for me is mental health.”

“I think I want to push that more I guess, especially now. On social media it’s a little bit, I guess, toxic,” she said. “So I think that especially being young that it’s important that people kind of recognize it that it’s an issue.”

Gauff said she hopes her story inspires others when they watch her play.

“I just want them to feel that anything’s possible and that, like, honestly, the sky’s the limit,” she said.

“Actually no, the sky isn’t the limit. You can go as far as you want,” she quipped. “I think that anything is possible at any age or any point in time of your life.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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