Blog Briefing Room

Major League Baseball bars playing in Venezuela

Major League Baseball announced Thursday it has banned all players from participation in the Venezuela winter league in response to President Trump's imposition of an economic embargo against the nation, according to ESPN.

"MLB has been in contact with the relevant government agencies regarding the Executive Order issued by President Trump on Venezuela," the league said in a statement. "MLB will fully adhere to the policies implemented by our government."

"With respect to the Venezuela Winter League, MLB will suspend its involvement in that league until it receives direction from the relevant agencies that participation by affiliated players is consistent with the Executive Order," MLB added, according to the network.

Historically, numerous players travel to the nation for the winter series, many of them relying on the opportunity to augment lower minor league salaries.

The Liga Venezolana de Beísbol Profesional (LVBP) is sponsored by Venezuela's state-run oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., which led MLB to conclude that players participating could be considered doing business with a governmental entity, ESPN reported.

President Nicolas Maduro has yet to comment on the decision but if his government chooses to retaliate, it could ban MLB from signing amateur players in the country.

Nearly 100 Venezuelans played in the majors this season, including New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, according to the network.

The announcement follows a move by the Trump administration in April to halt an arrangement between MLB and Cuba that allowed Cuban players to sign directly with the league.

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