MLB

Rangers execs lead off defense in Cuban smuggling trial

MIAMI (AP) Two Texas Rangers executives will be the leadoff witnesses for the defense in the Miami trial of a sports agent and baseball trainer charged with smuggling Cuban ballplayers.

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Mike Daly are scheduled to testify Tuesday. Earlier in the trial, outfielder Leonys Martin told jurors how he signed a $15.5 million contract with the Rangers after he was smuggled from Cuba in 2011. Martin now plays for the Seattle Mariners.

Charged with conspiracy and alien smuggling are agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada. Both men insist they ran legitimate businesses and did not bring players into the U.S. illegally.

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Prosecutors say the men ran a smuggling ring that falsely got Cuban players in line to sign lucrative free agent contracts.