Lifestyle & Belief

Photos: For Cuban baseball players, old travel restrictions still apply

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Alexei Ramirez, #10, of the Chicago White Sox forces out Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning on Sept. 28, 2012, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill.

Credit:

David Banks

Starting Jan. 14 most Cuban citizens will be able to travel without government consent for the first time, but people in specific job fields — such as military personnel, scientists and athletes — will still require authorization from the Castro administration.

Cuban athletes, especially baseball players and boxers, are at a severe disadvantage in large part because the most successful professional leagues are located in the US. Consequently, defection has become a thorny issue because many of the country's professionals are lured abroad by the promise of more lucrative opportunities. However, Cuban doctors will not be subject to these new travel laws. For many, exit visas are soon to be a thing of the past, but the effects on Cuban travel remain to be seen.

Cubans have a long-standing relationship with baseball, and currently there are 24 Cuban players in the MLB. Below are 10 names you should know.

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    Yonder Alonso, #23, of the San Diego Padres during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2012, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    Credit:

    Andy Lyons

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    Yuniesky Betancourt, #11, of the Kansas City Royals fields a ground ball against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on June 8, 2012, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pa.

    Credit:

    Justin K. Aller

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    Yoenis Cespedes, #52, of the Oakland Athletics hits a single in the top of the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Two of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on Oct. 7, 2012, in Detroit, Mich.

    Credit:

    Jason Miller

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    Reliever Aroldis Chapman, #54, of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Oct. 2, 2012, in St. Louis, Mo.

    Credit:

    Dilip Vishwanat

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    Relief pitcher Jose Contreras, #52, of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park on June 9, 2011, in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Credit:

    Hunter Martin

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    Yunel Escobar, #5, of the Toronto Blue Jays signals to the dugout during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on Sept. 15, 2012, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Credit:

    Tom Szczerbowski

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    Yasmani Grandal, #12, of the San Diego Padres poses for a portrait during a photo day at Peoria Stadium on Feb. 27, 2012, in Peoria, Ariz.

    Credit:

    Rich Pilling

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    Livan Hernandez, #61, of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with Martin Maldonado #12 after a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies during the game at Miller Park on Aug. 17, 2012, in Milwaukee, Wis.

    Credit:

    Mike McGinnis

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    Kendrys Morales, #8, of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim waits in the dugout just before the start of the game against the Chicago White Sox at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Sept. 23, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif.

    Credit:

    Stephen Dunn

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    Alexei Ramirez, #10, of the Chicago White Sox forces out Ben Zobrist #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning on Sept. 28, 2012, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Ill.

    Credit:

    David Banks