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Dying father's final wish for "Leo Nunez": Reclaim your identity

       MILWAUKEE -- For more than 10 years, major leaguer Juan Carlos Oviedo pitched under the name of Leo Nunez. But, earlier this year, when Oviedo was at home in the Dominican Republic and preparing to head to Jupiter for the start of spring training with the Marlins, his dying father's final request was for him to come clean and regain his true identity.

       Oviedo honored his late father's wish when he turned himself into authorities earlier this month, confessing that he had assumed the name and age of a boyhood friend in order to improve his marketability as a young baseball prospect. The pitcher formerly known as Nunez -- the Marlins' closer -- could now face criminal charges in his home country and has been placed on Major League Baseball's restricted list.

       Reliever Edward Mujica said he spoke by phone late Friday night with Oviedo, who told him the story about his father, asked the pitcher to pass along his apologies to his Marlins teammates for what had happened, and playfully suggested that his old nickname -- "Nuny" -- no longer be used.

       "Last night, when he called me, he goes 'Hey Mujica, how you doing?'" Mujica said. "And I say, 'What's up Nuny?' He told me, 'Hey man, I'm not Nuny anymore.'"

       Mujica said most of their 5- to 10-minute conversation, however, was serious. He said that Oviedo was emphatic in wanting Mujica to pass along his apologies to teammates. Oviedo had pitched Wednesday in South Florida. On Thursday, as the Marlins were preparing to board their charter flight for Milwaukee, Oviedo was on his way back to the Dominican to meet with government officials and come clean about his identity.

      Mujica said Oviedo told him that had been his father's desire.

      "His father, he was pretty sick, he told him 'Get your real name back. Just get your real name,'" Mujica said.

      When Oviedo's father died during spring training, the pitcher left the team for a few days and flew home to the Dominican to attend the funeral. The Marlins learned of Oviedo's identity issue a few months ago. On Sept. 7, Oviedo called the Dominican consulate in Miami and told them his secret.

      "He said 'I had to do that for my dad,'" Mujica said. "That's why he did it."

      Mujica said he has a new nickname for his friend and teammate.

      "J.C.," Mujica said with a smile.

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       The Marlins are expected to confer with officials from Major League Baseball to plot a course of action with Oviedo as it relates to his salary arbitration status. Oviedo would have been eligible for his fourth and final season of arbitration and could have expected to receive a 2012 salary of around $6 million.

       But all of that is now in limbo while the pitcher deals with his legal problems in the Dominican.

       The Marlins don't yet know whether they have until the Dec. 2 deadline to tender Oviedo a contract, or whether they need to wait to see how his legal situation plays out before doing so. Though he is not on their 40-man roster, he remains in team control.

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Comments

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Villa26

Wow!!! That's a very sad story... Kind of like a movie lol.

Flav C

More like a mexican soap-opera!

goldnneedl

Sad story ? My butt !! Sorry about the passing of his dad, but just another cheat playing the system. What if we all created lies for gain, feed the BS to our family, friends, & employees. Welcome to South Florida.

bob

I laughed when I heard about the identity situation, but with this news coming out I don't know what to feel. It took until the man's father died for him to come clean. It's sad, but at the same time he lied so he can have a bigger pay day, and he didn't come clean when he could've done so a few years ago. At least he is finally taking responsibility. I hope he can at least make peace with himself.

Julio

Just another boo-hoo story in the Naked City...He'll always be num-nutz Nunez on the Leo-Coaster. Wonder if they'll make an example out of him or hire him a fancy lawyer ,maybe bribe the politicians like they do here to give Num-Nutz a slap on the wrist...either way..who really gives a shitte, he blows anyway.

Mexihater

Anogher dumb mexican lying about his name and age to get rich. He needs to go do concrete work! Wetbacks!

Tom Chase

Would I pretend to be someone else, one year younger, if millions of dollars were at stake? Hell yes! Nobody got hurt here, as long as the real Leo Nunez was cut in on the action.

carlos

Did he brake any laws beside a name change?
Name changers:
John Wayne/Marion walker Morrison
Bruce Willis/Walter Willison
Marilyn Monroe/Norma jean Mortensen baker
Demi Moore/Demetria gene Guynes
Charles Bronson/Charles Bushinsky
The question is to all of you, would you have also done it?

LeRoy

Nunez first used the name Irving Svartzmon but was quickly found out when he came to Miami and was exposed by the condo commandos on Senior Citizens Day at the ballpark.

Flav C

Carlos, i think Oviedo's situation is a bit different from the Hollywood stars. They had an artistic name, but never hid their real name. Their documents showed their real name. Oviedo (with the help of other people) faked and changed is identity/age. All his new documents showed Leo Nunez.

spitballer

Some of the posters have no problem with the name change..."no harm done"....but he did have a opportunity in 2008 to come out with amnesty. He was not a kid then. He chose to remain Nunez. If his father had not asked him to clear this up, he more than likely would have remained Nunez. What this tells us...if it's this easy for baseball players to get into the country with assumed names...it's really easy for the terrorist to get in as well.

brg611

send him to the yankees, they have no problem with players who use ped's, dui's and alcohol abuse...clemons, giambi, rodriguez, strawberry, etc. they probably wouldn't have anu problem with a player using an alias

Queen Isabel

A Nunez by any other name is still an immigrant Julio who still can come to the New World to play Beisbol..

Harvey

Why does that idiot lomo ,with his mentally deranged haircut, get so much publicity??? He's a .250 hitter that chokes in the clutch and plays LF like an accident waiting to happen.

Luis

The Marlins shall be held responsible by Immigration, they new about this a few months ago and didn't nothing!

Ernesto

Marlins will lie about it like they always do and Nunez/Oviedo/AnotherLyingPieceofShitte will get away with it.

Glags

This guy sucked anyways and would be a waste of money to re-sign. Apparently MexiHater is an illiterate as he failed to read that the guy turned himself to officials in DR.

Glags

While assuming someone else's name for financial gain has no justification and should be punishable to the full extent of the law, I understand why he did it. Most of these guys are poor and have people giving them advice on how to fast track to an MLB career. If you've got nothing and someone tells you a little white lie will get you millions it' seems like a fair trade off. Of course, I wouldn't know as I haven't been in those shoes.

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