Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling and two other unidentified minor leaguers were stopped at a random alcohol check and cited for underage drinking in Arizona last week, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Dutton reports that none of the three players tested over the legal limit, but Starling is just 19 years old. He was the fifth overall pick in June’s draft and bypassed attending the University of Nebraska to sign for $7.5 million.
Royals assistant general manager for scouting and player development J.J. Picollo told Dutton that no further discipline is expected.
Here’s more from Picollo:
Our players put themselves in a bad spot. They made a poor decision in having a beer under age. It’s something most teenagers deal with, but we’re disappointed that they put themselves in this position. We’ll deal with it internally, but they did show some sense of responsibility in having someone who wasn’t drinking do the driving. We try to educate our kids from the time they sign until they get to the big leagues in what it means to be a professional athlete and how to represent the organization.
There were a total of five people in the car, but as Picollo notes the driver wasn’t drinking at all and one passenger was of legal drinking age.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.