When Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Dayron Varona left his home in Cuba three years ago to chase a major league career, he wasn’t sure if he would ever see his family again.
But with the Rays visiting the island this week to become the first major league team to play there since Baltimore in 1999, Varona was able to reunite with his family at the team hotel on Sunday.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays didn’t get final approval for Varona to travel with the team and return to the United States until Saturday. Varona isn’t currently on the team’s 40-man roster but was chosen to travel with the team by manager Kevin Cash after players urged him too.
“It’s something that I can’t believe is happening," Varona told the Times. “Even hugging my niece there, it’s something I can’t put into words. To have an experience like this right now is pretty unbelievable."
When the Rays take on the Cuban National team Tuesday, Varona will bat leadoff and start in right field.
Last season with the Rays’ minor league team, the Montgomery Biscuits, Varona had 73 hits in 303 plate appearances.