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Sano, accused of kidnapping, says he’s been blackmailed

Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 8: Miguel Sano #22 of the Minnesota Twins hits a single off of starting pitcher Christian Bergman #56 of the Seattle Mariners during the first inning of a game at Safeco Field on June 8, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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Minnesota Twins slugger Miguel Sano told a Dominican Republic newspaper he’s being blackmailed, having been accused of kidnapping and assault.

The Twins said Thursday they’re aware of the report in El Nuevo Diario and still trying to gathering more information about the situation surrounding Sano, who signed a three-year, $30 million contract in January and will move to first base if and when the 2020 season begins.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and hope to have more as it becomes available,” Twins spokesman Dustin Morse said.

El Nuevo Diario reported that Odalis Ramos, a lawyer, has accused Sano and three of his friends of kidnapping, beating and threatening to hang his client, Raudy Omar Sanchez de la Cruz, during an incident last month in San Pedro de Macoris, the hometown of the 27-year-old Sano.

Sano denied the accusations to the newspaper. He said Sanchez de la Cruz was involved in a sexual assault of a young relative of Sano’s. No charges have been filed in relation to any of the accusations. The local prosecutor’s office has a hearing scheduled for June 25, El Nuevo Diario reported. Sano told the newspaper that Ramos requested 10 million Dominican pesos, which is about $170,000 in American currency, to drop the accusations. Sano said he would sue Ramos for 30 million pesos, or about $500,000.

Sano bounced back from a rough 2018 season, hitting a career-high 34 homers in just 105 games last year. He also had a career-best .923 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 2019, after a belated start due to a badly cut heel he suffered during a celebration of his team’s winter league championship in the Dominican Republic.