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LIVAN HERNANDEZ'S BROTHER IS REFUGEE IN BAHAMAS

Two star Cuban baseball players, including the brother of World Series MVP Livan Hernandez of the Florida Marlins, made their escape from Cuba and were being held Tuesday at a refugee camp in the Bahamas.

Pitcher Orlando Hernandez, 28, his 20-year-old wife Noris, and catcher Alberto Hernandez, were among eight Cubans picked up by Bahamian authorities, said Rene Guim, a spokesman for agent Joe Cubas, whose office received a call from the pitcher.

Orlando Hernandez and Alberto Hernandez, who are not related, have been banned from the game on the communist island for over a year, partly as a result of Livan's defection while on a 1995 team trip to Mexico. Cuban officials accused them of aiding the defection of several athletes. Orlando Hernandez was more heralded as a pitcher than Livan Hernandez before the defection.

Ninoska Perez, of the Miami-based Cuban American National Foundation, said she spoke to the two men, who seemed in good shape. The group was working with Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., to ask Justice and State department officials to intercede on their behalf.

Elsewhere, New York Mets pitcher Jason Isringhausen likely will undergo reconstructive surgery on his pitching elbow, according to a published report. The decision will be made by Dr. James Andrews, who had recommended Dec. 16 that Isringhausen rest the arm, the suburban New York newspaper Newsday reported. Isringhausen, a 25-year-old right-hander, would miss all of next season if he needs surgery.

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