Dodgers' Yasiel Puig to return to Cuba with MLB

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

It was a long, strange and harrowing trip for Yasiel Puig to defect from Cuba in 2012. Now he will return to the island nation where he grew up. Puig is set to join a Major League Baseball's goodwill tour, helping to conduct clinics with local children and making appearances, from Dec. 15-18.

The New York Times reported the trip has been arranged as a result of negotiations with MLB and Antonio Castro, a Cuban baseball official who is also Fidel Castro's son. Other players who left Cuba, such as Jose Abreu and Brayan Pena, will also take part in the trip, but Puig would be the most high-profile defector involved.

A last hurdle, according to the New York Times, was that the Dodgers' slugger needed to clear an MLB investigation stemming from an altercation last month at a Miami nightclub. Puig has been cleared to join the delegation.

For Puig, considering the dangerous circumstances of his escape from Cuba, it's perhaps most important that the Cuban government has promised the returning players that they will be allowed to leave safely and that they will be granted time at the hotel to visit with family members.

Puig may also have the chance in Cuba to clear the air with Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw, who is also taking part in the goodwill trip. Offseason rumors have reported friction between the pair.

Enrique Rojas also covers the upcoming goodwill trip over at ESPN Deportes. As does reporter Marly Rivera.