- (Photo: REUTERS / Luis Hernandez)
Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was rescued alive Friday after being abducted and said he was in touch with God throughout his kidnapping.
"I was always praying to God, and thanks to God, He gave me the miracle of sending me these wonderful people," Ramos told Venezuelan state television. "I'm alive thanks to them."
Ramos was kidnapped by gunpoint outside his house in Valencia, Venezuela, on Wednesday night. Authorities found the kidnappers' car on Thursday.
On Friday, he was rescued alive and well after a gunfight between his abductors and police in the mountainous region of Montalban.
"The truth is I'm still very nervous, but thanks to God everything turned out well," Ramos said.
He also thanked authorities involved in his rescue operation.
Ramos' mother, Maria Campos, was ecstatic when reunited with her 24-year-old son.
"Thanks to God!" she yelled on television.
Mike Rizzo, general manager for the Nationals, was also happy to hear the news.
"Though details are limited and we have not yet talked directly with Wilson, we are thrilled with reports that he has been rescued," Rizzo said in a statement.
Rizzo added: "We greatly appreciate all the prayers and thoughts of all who have joined us in wishing for this conclusion to what has been a nightmarish 48 hours. We are eager to see Wilson and let him know just how many all over the world have been waiting for this news."
Information Minister Andres Izzara said the rescue operation was authorized by President Hugo Chavez.
Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami said three men were arrested in the abduction, including a Colombian with ties to paramilitary and kidnapping groups.
Kidnapping has become an increasing threat to the middle and upper-classes in Venezuela, according to The Associated Press. Ramos' kidnapping is the first known abduction of a major league baseball player. However, relatives of baseball players have been kidnapped in Venezuela. Relatives were killed in two previous cases.
Ramos originally signed with the Minnesota Twins but was traded to the Washington Nationals in July 2010. In his rookie season with the Nationals in 2011, Ramos hit .267 with 15 home runs and 52 RBIs in 113 games.