Illustration for article titled Dominican Pitcher Admits Living a Lie

Florida Marlins pitcher Leo Nunez has just admitted that for the past 10 years, he's lied about both his age and his name.

NPR reports that Nunez's real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo, and he assumed a friend's identity when he was 16. Why? "Because the teams pay so much more money for 16-year-olds."


The Miami Heralds' Frances Robles explained, "They don't pay big bucks for 17; they pay big bucks for 16," Robles says. "The difference can be hundreds of thousands of dollars."

In 2000 he signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who believed he was 16.

Robles reports that Oviedo contacted the Dominican consulate in Florida himself to set the record straight, saying that he needed to "straighten out my paperwork." He's even signed a statement acknowledging that he had falsified his identity.

As for why Oviedo decided to come clean, Robles says there are two competing stories out there. One version supposes that he's trying to fulfill a final request from his father, who died last spring. In a similar scenario, this one popular in his hometown, he revealed his real identity so that he could become a naturalized U.S. citizen and bring his family to America.


For now, Oviedo is still in the Dominican Republic. The Marlins have placed him on the "restricted list," meaning that he's obligated to the team but unavailable to play. He'll likely have to serve at least a one-year suspension and forfeit the $6 million salary that would come with it, under his current contract.

Read more at NPR.

In other news: Herman Cain: 'I'm The Black Walnut.'

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