SPORTS

Brayan Villarreal's Family Survives Kidnapping Attempt In Venezuela

03/04/2013 08:44 am ET | Updated Mar 04, 2013

The family of Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Brayan Villarreal was the target of a kidnapping attempt in Venezuela, team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said on Sunday, via the Detroit Free Press.

Dombrowski said that "everybody is unharmed" and Villarreal is still at spring training.

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com, Villarreal "authorized" his agent Hector Gomez to share the horrifying details of the attack -- which took place on Friday night -- to warn other players about the dangers families could face in Veneuzela.

"The guys put a gun in the mouth of Brayan's father and his little 14-year-old brother, threatening that they would return and kidnap everybody if they said anything to the police," Gomez said on Sunday, via ESPNdeportes.com. "When the authorities reached the house to investigate if something was going on, they threatened everyone to not open the door."

Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't want to comment on the situation, saying "the less said, the better," per the Associated Press.

Following the 2011 season, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was kidnapped at his home in Venezuela and rescued two days later by police.

Citing official state statistics, ESPNdeportes.com reported that kidnappings have significantly increased in Venezuela "in the past few years with more than 600 accounted for in 2009."

More from the Associated Press:

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers say reliever Brayan Villarreal is not expected to leave spring training after his family escaped unharmed from a kidnapping attempt in Venezuela on Friday night.

Villarreal has remained with the team. Manager Jim Leyland did not want to comment further about the matter, saying Sunday: "The less said, the better."

Villarreal went 3-5 with a 2.63 ERA last year in 50 appearances. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out 66 hitters in 54 2-3 innings.

Security back home has been a concern in recent years for Venezuelan players and their families because of a rising wave of kidnappings.

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was abducted outside his family's home shortly after the end of the 2011 season and rescued by police commandos two days later.

In June 2009, Colorado Rockies catcher Yorvit Torrealba's 11-year-old son and brother-in-law were kidnapped and released a day later.

The mother of former pitcher Ugueth Urbina, a two-time All-Star, spent more than five months in captivity until she was rescued in early 2005.

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