According to the Associated Press, Royals right-hander Jeremy Jeffress was arrested last month in Arizona following a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. Jeffress, who was acquired from the Brewers last offseason as part of the Zack Greinke trade, was booked for assault, criminal damage and disorderly conduct.
The first two charges were dismissed, but Jeffress was sentenced to serve 20 hours of community service for the disorderly conduct charge and required to attend a domestic violence counseling class.
Jeffress apologized for his actions via a statement from the Royals after the arrest was made public earlier today:
“There was an argument between myself and my girlfriend and I lost my temper, but I never put my hands on her.”
“There are consequences in what you do or say. I’ve disappointed my family and the name on the back of my jersey. I just want to make it clear this is not me.”
It’s not clear if he’ll face any discipline from the Royals, but general manager Dayton Moore said, “we stand behind Jeremy at this point based on the information we have received.” On an unrelated note, Jeffress was suspended twice during his time as a Brewers’ farmhand for testing positive for marijuana.
Jeffress, 24, made the Royals’ Opening Day roster last year, but was sent down to the minors in May after posting a 4.70 ERA and 13/11 K/BB ratio over 15 1/3 innings. The hard-throwing reliever wasn’t any better following his demotion, compiling a 5.50 ERA and 44/40 K/BB ratio over 55 2/3 innings between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. The Royals have plenty of quality bullpen depth right now, so it’s probably best that Jeffress continues to work on his command in the minors.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.
Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.