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BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — It was hard for Elias Diaz to explain exactly what went through his mind when he found out his mother had been kidnapped.

The Pittsburgh Pirates catcher certainly remembers how it felt when she was rescued.

“No one really prepares themselves for something like that,” Diaz said Sunday through a translator. “It was a very tough situation to deal with, but when I did find out the news that we found my mom, I can tell you that the joy that I felt was overwhelming. I’ve never felt that caliber of joy that I felt the moment I received the news that my mom was coming back.”

The Pirates gave Diaz permission to arrive late to spring training this year, and the 27-year-old was at camp, ready to talk to reporters about his mother’s ordeal in Venezuela. Ana Isabel Soto was rescued Feb. 11, three days after she was kidnapped.

“Thank God, she’s doing a lot better,” Diaz said. “She’s doing well. So that’s what’s important. That’s what matters, and we’re very glad.”

Diaz said his mother was just hanging out outside with a friend when she was taken. Diaz says he’s hoping family members will be able to leave Venezuela.

“The goal is to get them out of Venezuela,” he said. “It’s a tough process, but that’s the goal.”

Diaz played 64 games for Pittsburgh last year, hitting .223 with 19 RBIs and 18 runs. He said he was excited to get back on the field.

“I feel like a brand new man,” he said. “I feel like my mom was reborn, and I was reborn as well.”


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