Three weeks ago, we wrote about Chad Curtis being under investigation in Michigan for allegedly inappropriately touching students. That investigation has concluded with the former big-league outfielder being charged with five separate criminal sexual conduct charges.
According to 24 Hour News 8 in Grand Rapids, Curtis is facing two counts in the second-degree, one in the third-degree and two in the fourth-degree. The second-degree and third-degree charges are punishable by up to 15 years of imprisonment. He was arraigned late Thursday afternoon and released after his wife put up 10 percent of the $250,000 bond.
The prosecutor said all the alleged incidents involved female athletes and at Lakewood High School, where Curtis was serving as a volunteer coach. Before being suspended by the school, he was expected to take over as the head football coach in the fall.
According to News 8, the inappropriate conduct allegedly occurred during therapeutic assistance to an injury, but it crossed the line into touching and kissing intimate parts.
Curtis, who played for the Yankees and Angels in a 10-year big-league career that concluded in 2001, has denied the allegations.
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.