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Monday, December 9
 
Venezuelan Winter League players go on strike

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Players struck the Venezuelan Winter League, prompting some Americans to leave the country.

Venezuela's eight professional baseball clubs decided to postpone games when the strike began Dec. 2. The season will resume "when conditions in the country permit it,'' Ramon Guillermo Aveledo, president of the Venezuela Professional Baseball League, said Monday.

"You'll hear 'Play Ball!' only when we can guarantee the quality of the game and the safety of the players.''

Among those leaving were Houston outfielder Jason Lane, Florida pitcher Allen Levrault and Boston pitcher Derek Haselhoff.

Political tensions have risen as an opposition general strike against President Hugo Chavez entered its eighth day Monday. The U.S. State Department has advised Americans to avoid travel to Venezuela.