Two Rockies minor leaguers charged with first degree rape, face life in prison

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This is ugly and awful: Class A Asheville relief pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were charged today with two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense. From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The alleged offenses involved one woman and happened in the early morning hours on Saturday at the players’ apartment on Ascot Point Circle, according to a police incident report and arrest warrants. Both players have been suspended from the baseball team.

Meaux was released from custody after posting a $100,000 bond, according to The Citizen-Times. Mason is still in Buncombe County jail. Both have been ordered not to leave North Carolina.  The Rockies have released a statement:

“The Colorado Rockies and their affiliate, the Asheville Tourists, are aware of the arrests and the very serious allegations made against two players, Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux,” the Rockies said in a statement Thursday night. “Each organization is shocked and deeply concerned about the allegations. At this time, the players have been suspended as the investigation and legal process continue.

“We are working with the authorities investigating the circumstances and issues surrounding the events and are awaiting further details and findings. Given that this is an ongoing legal investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or speculate any further.”

As MiLB.com notes, Mason had a 3.38 ERA in 21 appearances this season. Meaux had a 0.90 ERA in 16 games but hadn’t pitched since May 24 due to a right-shoulder injury.  Each of them face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Former Yankees prospect Manny Banuelos signs a minor league deal with the Dodgers

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Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.

OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.

Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.

It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.