Prosecutor: Angel Villalona bought way out of jail

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Angel Villalona is out of jail yet still facing murder charges in the Dominican Republic after paying the family of the man he allegedly killed $55,000 of an approx. $140,000 settlement, prosecutor Jose Antonio Polanco told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Polanco said Villalona, one of the Giants’ top prospects, is expected to pay another $83,000 to the family of Mario Felix de Jesus Velete.
“The family … has behaved in an embarrassing manner because they now say that Villalona is not even the person involved in the death,” he said. “But the prosecution … will continue to pursue this case.”
Polanco added that the case is expected to be heard in about a month.
Villalona allegedly shot Velete in a bar on Sept. 19. He could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty. A conviction, though, could be incredibly difficult to attain without the family’s cooperation, particularly if more of Villalona’s original $2.1 million signing bonus finds its way into the right hands.
While Villalona may well succeed in making the murder charges go away, one can hope it won’t be so easy for him to get a visa to play professionally in the United States next year. It’d be disgusting to see him resume his baseball career as though nothing ever happened.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.

According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.

Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.

Tigers to give Omar Infante some work in center field this spring

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Omar Infante #4 of the Detroit Tigers follows through on an RBI single scoring Prince Fielder #28 during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field  on September 11, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
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Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.

Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.

The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”