Tampa Bay Rays Sign Pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo (a.k.a. Leo Nunez)
The Tampa Bay Rays have brought in two pitchers with a combined four identities between them this offseason. On December 18, 2012, they signed pitcher Roberto Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona (from the Associated Press via FoxSports.com).
Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times also reported via his Twitter feed that Juan Carlos Oviedo signed a minor league deal with the Rays. He is better known as former Royals and Marlins pitcher, Leo Nunez.
According to Jemele Hill of ESPN.com, Oviedo assumed the identity of his friend Nunez so he could be listed as a year younger and be more desirable for a lucrative contract.
The Pirates signed him before he eventually landed with the Kansas City Royals, making his big league debut in 2005. He pitched well as a middle reliever for the Royals in 2008, and was eventually traded to the Florida Marlins where he led the team in saves in 2009, 2010 and 2011 (a career-high 36 saves).
But soon the truth of his identity caught up with him. The Marlins put him on their restricted list on September 22, 2011 because of the fraud (according to Scott Boeck of USA Today), and he spent the following offseason clearing up his immigration status (via the Associated Press (h/t aol.sportingnews.com).
During the 2012 season, Oviedo was suspended eight weeks as a result of his false identity. While preparing for his season debut, Oviedo injured his elbow (according to Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald) and will miss a large chunk of the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
But the Rays are looking to be contending deep into the year and in the postseason. Tampa Bay hopes Oviedo can capture some of Leo Nunez's good fortune on the mound and help the team mount a strong playoff run.
Imagine Juan Carlos Oviedo, or Leo Nunez, saving a game for Roberto Hernandez, better known as Fausto Carmona.
For the Rays, a win by any other name would smell just as sweet.
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