CLEVELAND (AP) — Indians outfielder Yasiel Puig has become a U.S. citizen after a ceremony Wednesday in Miami.
The Cuban-born Puig, who was traded to Cleveland by Cincinnati last month, posted a photo Wednesday on social media showing him waving a small American flag. He wrote, “Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen.”
A team spokesman said Puig’s naturalization ceremony took place in Miami. He defected from Cuba in 2012 after several failed attempts.
Puig made his Major League debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers before being traded to the Reds during the offseason. He was traded to Cleveland in the deal that sent Trevor Bauer from the Indians to the Reds and Franmil Reyes from the Padres to the Indians.
Puig was not in uniform for the Indians’ afternoon game against Boston. He is serving the final game of a three-game suspension for his involvement in a July 30 brawl when he was still with the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.
The 28-year-old was part of a wild fight between the Reds and Pirates mere hours before being traded. Puig is batting .357 with one homer and six RBIs in 11 games with the Cleveland Indians since making the move.
Puig has been at times a polarizing figure in Major League Baseball, as his explosive personality and flashy style of play has consistently rubbed members of the game’s old guard the wrong way.
Puig is not the first Indian to become a naturalized American citizen this year. Earlier this season, Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana became a U.S. citizen.