Washington Nationals starter Livan Hernandez pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of their National League baseball game in Washington

Livan Hernandez is the target of a money laundering probe


This is … unexpected. According to this Spanish language reportwith English summary here — Livan Hernandez is the target of a federal probe related to money laundering on behalf of convicted Puerto Rican drug trafficker Angel Ayala Vázquez, known to his criminal friends as “El Buster.”  (El Buster?). Even if you don’t speak Spanish, please click the Spanish link for the awesome picture.  Antonia Alfonseca was likely unavailable for comment.

As near a can be told from these second and third level reports, Immigration and Customs agents testified in “El Buster’s” trial that a warehouse full of exotic cars and other expensive luxury items allegedly belonging to El Buster were registered to Hernandez.  The feds, when asked, confirmed that the investigation could lead to criminal charges for Hernandez.

There’s obviously a lot more to this — and I’m sure we’ll hear more soon — but it’s all we have now.

UPDATE: Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington fills in some of the pieces here, as well as passes along a short statement from the Nationals:

A team spokesman said Wednesday that the Nationals “are aware of, and continue to monitor, the situation as it pertains to the Angel Manuel Ayala trial.” Hernandez, through the spokesman, declined to comment.

CC Sabathia checking into an alcohol rehab center

sabathia getty

This is totally unexpected and definitely unfortunate: The New York Yankees just released a statement from CC Sabathia saying that he is checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.

Sabathia, who was involved in a relatively minor incident outside a nightclub back in August, has battled injuries and ineffectiveness for the past three seasons but has, in his last few starts, shown himself to be effective, even if he’s not to the level he once was. And, should the Yankees advance past the Wild Card game, one would have assumed that the Yankees would’ve been counting on him for the playoff rotation. Now, however, that seems both doubtful and completely superfluous.

And for what it’s worth, Sabathia’s statement, just released by the Yankees, suggests that he is aware of the need to get his priorities in order:

“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.

“I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.

“As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.

“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.

“I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness.”

Here’s hoping Sabathia deals with whatever problems he’s facing and comes out healthy on the other end.

Diamondbacks fire pitching coach Mike Harkey

Oliver Perez, Mike Harkey
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Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.

That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.

Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.