MLB

Phillies star pitcher Ranger Suárez overjoyed with overdue family reunion in America

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suárez throws during the second inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Friday, June 14, 2024, in Baltimore.
AP Photo/Terrance Williams

By DAN GELSTON AP Sports Writer

Ranger Suárez never had spent a Father’s Day with his two young children. Stuck in Venezuela because of a complicated visa process, his wife never had left the country nor watched the left-hander pitch in person with the Philadelphia Phillies.

His family missed out on watching Suárez rise from a little-known teenage prospect that signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2012 to an ace and potential All-Star for the team in the National League with the best record.

No more.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Ranger Suarez pitches during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Philadelphia.AP Photo/Matt Slocum

At last, the family has been reunited in the United States.

Suárez picked up a no-decision and tossed six solid innings for the Phillies, who lost 5-2 to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. The outcome almost didn’t seem to matter for once to Suárez.

That’s because his family cheered him on at Citizens Bank Park.

His wife, Joseany, and their two young children, Sofia and Dominick, sat behind the plate and gave Suárez all the reasons he needed to smile in the clubhouse following a start nearly a decade in the making.

“I am very excited to go home and see them, hug them, talk with them, play with them,” Suárez said through an interpreter.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ranger Suárez throws a pitch against the New York Mets during the first inning of a London Series baseball game in London, Saturday, June 8, 2024.AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

“I saw them before the game and it’s a totally different feeling. Very cool,” he said.

The 28-year-old Suárez, who was raised in Pies de Cuesta, Venezuela, has enjoyed a breakout season with the Phillies and helped lead them to a 49-25 record.

He is 10-1 with a 1.75 ERA — one of just four Phillies starting pitchers since the stat became official in 1912 to boast an ERA of 1.75 or lower through their first 15 starts.

Suárez has been touted as a front-runner to start the All-Star Game for the National League next month in Texas.

“If they call me for the All-Star Game, I would definitely go and bring my family,” he said. “That would be a great experience to play my first All-Star Game and bring them.”

Suárez and Joseany were married in the offseason in part to aid the process of helping her obtain the visa needed to bring the family to the United States. The couple share 6-year-old Sofia and 3-year-old Dominick. Joseany and the children watched the Phillies play on TV and cheered on Suárez as helped lead the team to the World Series in 2022 and the NL Championship Series last season. Suárez knows how much it would mean to everyone if the entire family could enjoy another postseason run.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez celebrates their win against the San Diego Padres in Game 5 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia.AP Photo/Matt Slocum

“Every time I pitch, and even when I don’t, they always watch Phillies games and are cheering for us,” he said. “The little one really likes it, they both do.”

The only part better for Suárez than having his family at the game was having it all together for the first time on Father’s Day.

“Happy, very happy. We were excited because they arrived on Father’s Day,” he said. “Since they were born, I have never been with them on Father’s Day, so it made me very excited when they arrived at the house. Very happy.”