When I saw the headline all I could do was to think “Please don’t be Jason Heyward! Please don’t be Jason Heyward!” Then I remembered that
it’s all but certain that Heyward will officially break camp with the big club, thus isn’t really a minor leaguer and everything was alright again. Well, not for this dude:
Atlanta Braves minor league player Deunte Heath was arrested near the
Braves spring training home in Kissimmee, Fla. Thursday night. He is
facing prostitution charges after allegedly responding to an ad on a
classifieds web site. Heath was arrested during an undercover sting operation at a Kissimmee
townhouse according to Orlando TV station WFTV . . . Investigators say he responded to an ad online and agreed to pay $75 for
In other news, the fact that police in Kissimmee are running sting operations involving phony $75 prostitutes suggests to me that they have too much damn time on their hands. I’m not one of those people who erroneously believe that prostitution is a victimless crime — it could be in theory and if the laws were changed, but in practice it’s really not — but I would hope that public resources in that area of the vice beat would go more towards helping victimized and abused women, arresting drug dealing pimps and things of that nature than running sting operations in the suburbs.
In other other news, Deunte Heath is probably not making the Braves this year.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.