The case against agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, who have been accused of illegally smuggling baseball players into the United States from Cuba, has gone to the jury.
Deliberations will begin today, following six weeks of testimony in which prosecutors claimed that Hernandez and Estrada oversaw a criminal network aimed at getting players to the U.S. where they could sign lucrative contracts. Prosecutors claim that the men placed the players in harm’s way and caused them to sign away an inordinate amount of their future earnings under duress. Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox and Leonys Martin of the Seattle Mariners were among the players allegedly so affected, each of whom testified.
Giants starter Jeff Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his ailing right shoulder, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. The right-hander struggled in a minor league game on Wednesday, surrendering a pair of home runs and hitting a batter. Overall this spring, Samardzija has given up 15 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits (six homers) and seven walks with seven strikeouts in 11 innings.
This may mean Samardzija won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. Derek Holland would likely replace Samardzija in the rotation. Holland had been competing for the No. 5 spot in the Giants’ rotation.
Samardzija led the National League in losses last season with 15, also posting a 4.42 ERA with a 205/32 K/BB ratio in a league-high 207 2/3 innings. Since becoming a starter, Samardzija has been able to avoid injury, making 32 or 33 starts in each of the last five seasons.