Lenny Dykstra pleaded not guilty in Los Angeles Monday in a federal case where he’s accused of embezzling money from a bankruptcy estate.
Federal prosecutors contend Dykstra sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items from an $18.5 million mansion without permission of a bankruptcy trustee.
Dykstra appeared dazed in court, according to The Associated Press report. When asked if he understood the charges against him, he replied, “I don’t understand it, but I understand them.”
The former Met and Phillie showed up with a new lawyer today, a deputy federal public defender. His previous lawyer, Mark Werksman, declined to say why he no longer represented Dykstra. Financial issues would seem to be the obvious cause.
Dykstra is being held in Los Angeles County Jail after being charged with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, attempted grand theft auto, identity theft and other crimes. If convicted of all counts, he’d face a maximum of 80 years in prison. His trial is scheduled to begin on May 9.
The 48-year-old Dykstra is also facing charges in a different case after police found drugs such as cocaine and synthetic hGH at his home last month. He’s scheduled for an arraignment on those charges Thursday.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.