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Ex-ballplayer allegedly dodges libel suit

CHICAGO, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- A former teammate of Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jayson Werth who once dated Werth's wife allegedly has gone into hiding to avoid a libel lawsuit.

Ryan Root and Werth were both star athletes at a central Illinois high school, but Werth's star shone brighter, the Chicago Sun-Times said. Werth went on to become a major league player and married Julia, Root's former date.

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In November, a series of nasty letters began arriving at the Werth home, allegedly from Root, the newspaper said, telling of illicit affairs and threatening to expose pictures and videotapes of Werth having sex with other women.

Calling the ballplayer "deceitful, egotistical" and a "sleazeball," the letters also urged Julia Werth to leave her husband. One suggested perhaps her true love was someone she had met years earlier.

Werth filed a libel lawsuit, and the letters stopped coming.

However, process servers found Root's Florida home vacant, and while his father said he had moved to Cincinnati, he couldn't be found there either.

Werth has withdrawn the libel suit, but said he will file one again if the letters resume.

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