SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Adonis García, Navegantes de Magallanes third baseman, had a special reason for joining Tigres de Aragua, the Venezuelan champions.
The Cuban-born García will have the unique and historic opportunity to play against his brother, José Adolis García, an outfielder for Tigres de Ciego de Avila, the reigning Cuban baseball champions.
It would be the first time that two Cuban brothers have competed against each other in an international tournament. This has previously only occurred in Cuba's baseball league, when Carlos (Havana) and Camilo Pascual (Marianao and Cienfuegos) regularly faced each other professionally before 1962, or the twins Fernando and Juan Hernández from Pinar del Río lined up for the two local sides, Vegueros and Forestales, respectively.
The elder Adonis, 30, is already well-established in Venezuelan baseball after spending four seasons with Magallanes, where he began his professional career after defecting from Cuba, where he played for Ciego de Avila.
José Adolis, 22, is considered one of the island's top prospects and has a .315 career batting average in five seasons in the Cuban league. His breakout season was 2014-15, when he led the league in hits (110) in 85 games, as well as runs (62), RBIs (53) and extra-base hits (29). He also belted 12 homers.
“When they spoke to me about playing I said I would and not only to play against my brother and against the team from my province in Cuba, but because I'm grateful to Venezuela for the opportunities they have given me, beyond just Navegantes,” said Adonis, a third baseman for the Atlanta Braves.
“I am very proud of my brother's progress and to know that he is considered one of the top prospects in Cuba,” he added. “Imagine, he was practically a kid when I left.”
The admiration is mutual. José Adolis keeps a close eye on the career of his brother, who finally received the long-awaited call in 2015 to play in the world's top baseball league with Atlanta.
“If we have to play against each other, what are we going to do? That's part of baseball. But family comes first and Adonis will always be my role model,” said the younger brother, who claims not to follow the major leagues, aside from the occasional Braves game to catch a glimpse of his brother.