Juan Carlos Oviedo, last known to baseball fans as Leo Nunez, has cleared up his immigration status with the Dominican Republic and feels ready to begin the rest of his baseball career under his new name.
Oviedo last pitched for the Marlins in September, when it was discovered that he had been playing under a false name since 2000. Now, eligible to rejoin Miami in late July, he points out through a translator that he is still the same pitcher. "I'm the same guy. It's the same arm," he says.
Oviedo saved 92 games for the Marlins in 2009-2011 and is playing under a 1-year $6 million contract for the Marlins, signed in the off-season. Because of the uncertainty surround Oviedo's immigration status, Miami also signed Heath Bell, leaving Oviedo with a setup role upon his return. He'll begin a minor league rehabilitation two weeks before his return.
The effort at clearing up Oviedo's status took the input of Major League Baseball, the player's association, and several lawyers.
Oviedo began using a false name so that he could begin playing for a more lucrative pro contract. Now, he's happy that his career can continue as planned and that he can finally play under his real name. He says, "There are no words to explain how happy I am now that I have my name. My dad's name, who died, which is what he wanted for me."