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.
Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.
As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.
Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.
Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.
After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.