After news of the incident somehow remained silent for three weeks, the Indians announced today that Austin Kearns was arrested in Kentucky on February 12 and charged with a DUI.
Asked why he didn’t tell the Indians about the arrest and instead let them find out only after it was published in a Kentucky newspaper, Kearns said it was “the advice I was given.”
According to the police report Kearns was “flashing his headlights and weaving” and told the arresting officer that he’d consumed “a couple bourbon and cokes” at a local bar. He refused to take a field sobriety test and allegedly “advised that he played professional baseball and asked if I could cut him a break.”
He has a court date scheduled for March 10, but Kearns told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he won’t have to leave Indians camp to attend the hearing. Kearns declined to comment on the case, but indicated that this is the first time he’s been charged with a DUI.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.