Baseball America points out a chilling investigative report by Alicia Ortega of Noticias Sin in the Dominican Republic. Three players, one of whom was later stabbed to death, have accused powerful Domincan trainer Enrique Soto of sexually assaulting them.
Soto was arrested in January, but he was released on bond in June.
Yunior Pena Peguero was one of the players accusing Soto in Ortega’s report. He says he had received death threats as a result of coming forward, and on June 26, he was stabbed to death in Bani, which is where Soto runs his program. He said Soto sexually assaulted him at age 15, and that he later developed a drug addiction and attempted suicide. He was 22 when he was killed.
It was the accusations from the other two interviewed that resulted in Soto’s arrest in January. Neither had their names revealed in the report.
According to Baseball America, Soto has trained such major leaguers as Miguel Tejada, Erick Aybar and Willy Aybar. He has denied all of the allegations against him and says it’s part of a blackmail scheme.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.
Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.
There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.
Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.