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Crime & Courts

Yankees prospect from Cuba faces DUI charge in Tampa


Published:   |   Updated: January 24, 2014 at 01:09 PM

A New York Yankees pitching prospect was arrested early Friday after police spotted him in a 2014 red Mercedes going the wrong way on a one-way street in South Tampa.

Omar Luis Rodriguez, 21, faces a charge of driving under the influence.

Rodriguez is a left-handed pitcher who defected from Cuba in 2012. He signed a contract with the Yankees in 2012 and received a multimillion dollar signing bonus. He played in the Gulf Coast Rookie League last year.

Tampa police said it took two cruisers to slow and then stop Rodriguez during a half-mile attempt to pull him over at 3:15 a.m.

An officer first spotted the Mercedes heading west on Platt Street, which is one-way eastbound, said police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor. The officer turned on his emergency lights and tried to pull the driver over, but the car then turned north on Armenia Avenue, which is one-way in the southbound direction.

McGregor said the Mercedes then turned west on Kennedy Boulevard and was finally pulled over near Lincoln Avenue when another officer got in front of the Mercedes and slowed to a stop.

Rodriguez, who gave police a Miami address, registered a 0.102 blood-alcohol level. In Florida, a driver is considered impaired with a blood-alcohol level of .08.

He was booked and later released after posting $500 bail, according to jail records.

Rodriguez pitched for Cuba during the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championship and drew attention when he struck out eight batters during a complete-game that eliminated Team USA in the semifinals. He led Cuba to a bronze medal and was named to the competition’s all-tournament team.

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