Asdrubal dreamed as 15-year-old in Venezuela

Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS, Nationals
Hometown: Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela

Asdrubal Cabrera was 15 when he told his father, Asdrubal Cabrera, he wanted to end his formal schooling and play professional baseball. Cabrera's father was skeptical -- he once turned down the prospect of playing pro basketball to focus on having a family and ended up making his living driving trucks -- but let his son go anyway.

Weeks later, after impressing longtime Seattle scout Emilio Carrasquel, a 16-year-old Cabrera signed with the Mariners in 2002. That meant saying so long to Puerto La Cruz, a city on Venezuela's northern coast with a population of nearly a half-million people, a hometown he shares with fellow big leaguer Omar Infante.

In the summer of 2003, Cabrera started his pro career playing for Aguirre -- a day's drive from home -- in the Venezuelan Summer League before heading off to the United States in 2004.

Tim Healey is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.