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Granny gives inspiration

Tue., April 1, 2014

Olga Fernandez, right, came from Cuba to see her grandson pitch for the first time since he defected. (Associated Press)
Olga Fernandez, right, came from Cuba to see her grandson pitch for the first time since he defected. (Associated Press)

Jose Fernandez’s grandmother attended the Miami Marlins’ opener and saw him pitch for the first time since he left Cuba at age 15.

Olga Fernandez, who lives in Cuba, sat behind the Marlins’ dugout for Monday’s game against Colorado. She wore a Marlins uniform with her grandson’s No. 16, and above that was the word “abuela” – Spanish for grandmother.

She said: “It really does mean the whole world to be here and see him pitch for the Marlins in a major league game. To be here tonight is the ultimate feeling of all the emotions – happy, proud, love.”

She sat with her daughter, who is Jose’s mom. Fernandez, a 21-year-old Cuban defector, became the youngest N.L. opening-day starter since Dwight Gooden in 1986, according to STATS.

First successful challenge

An umpire’s call was overturned Monday for the first time under Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system, with Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun ruled out instead of safe.

Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez challenged the sixth-inning play at Miller Park in the season opener won by Milwaukee, 2-0. Braun was originally called safe at first base by umpire Greg Gibson on a leadoff infield single fielded by third baseman Chris Johnson. The review lasted 58 seconds.

Indians extend Gomes’ contract

Catcher Yan Gomes and the Cleveland Indians have completed a $23 million, six-year contract. Gomes’ deal includes club options for 2020 and ’21. Gomes hit .294 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs in 88 games last season, his first with the Indians.

Fans’ entry delayed in Chicago

Fans arriving at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday were greeted by long lines and metal detectors when they tried to enter the stadium to watch the Chicago White Sox take on the Minnesota Twins on opening day.

Major League Baseball has told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by 2015, either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers. The White Sox checked fans by hand-held or walkthrough metal detectors depending on where they tried to enter the stadium.

That, and a sellout crowd of 37,422, contributed to lengthy delays trying to see Chris Sale and the White Sox face the Twins.

Bonds makes appearance

Barry Bonds was on hand in Pittsburgh for the Pirates’ opening day festivities. He presented centerfielder Andrew McCutchen with the 2013 N.L. MVP Award.

Bonds, who left Pittsburgh for San Francisco in 1993, was the last Pittsburgh player to win the award.

Clearing the bases

The Boston Red Sox put right fielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right hamstring. … The Arizona Diamondbacks have released catcher Henry Blanco from his minor league contract and added him to the team’s major league coaching staff.

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