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Yasiel Puig hit .252 with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs for the Cincinnati Reds before being traded to the Cleveland Indians in July. File Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 15 (UPI) — Cleveland Indians slugger Yasiel Puig used his time off during a suspension to become an American citizen.

Puig, 28, posted photos Wednesday on social media during the process. He stood in a government office while sporting a suit and holding a small American flag.

“Thank you God for this great opportunity to be an American citizen,” Puig wrote for the caption on the photo.

Nearly 100,000 people liked Puig’s Instagram post, while nealry 90,000 people interacted with his Twitter post. Former Cincinnati Reds teammates Derek Dietrich and Kyle Farmer commented on the post with congratulatory messages.

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Puig was born in Cuba and had to make multiple attempts to defect from the country before successfully going to Mexico. He signed a seven-year, $42 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and made his MLB debut in 2013. Puig spent his first six seasons with the Dodgers before being traded to the Reds last off-season. He was traded to the Indians in July. The 2014 All-Star is hitting .263 with 23 home runs and 67 RBIs this season.

He was forced to serve a three-game suspension for his role in a fight between the Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates July 30 in Cincinnati. Puig was traded on the same day as the skirmish.

Indians stars Carlos Santana and Oliver Perez also became American citizens this year. Puig returns from his suspension for the Indians’ game against the New York Yankees at 7:05 p.m. EDT Thursday at Yankee Stadium in New York City.

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