The Associated Press is reporting that White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu testified to a Miami federal jury on Wednesday that he ate his fake passport aboard an Air France flight from Haiti to Miami. He washed the paper down with beer. When Abreu arrived in late October 2013, he signed a six-year, $68 million contract with the White Sox.
Abreu said, “If I had not been there on that particular day, the deadline, then the contract would not be executed and would no longer be valid. We had to be in Chicago to sign the contract.”
Abreu testified in the trial of sports agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada, which is expected to last a few more weeks. Both are accused of alien smuggling and conspiracy. According to the allegations, the duo took Cuban baseball players to other countries to eventually sign a contract in Major League Baseball after establishing residency. Abreu’s testimony came under a grant of limited immunity, which means he won’t be prosecuted as long as he tells the truth while he’s on the witness stand.
Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and Mariners outfielder Leonys Martin are among other players to testify in this trial.
Former major league pitcher Roy Halladay is likely to work for the Phillies in spring training, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports. The right-hander has been discussing with the Phillies potential responsibilities he might have at Spectrum Field and Carpenter Complex, the Phillies’ spring training stadium and year-round training facility, respectively.
Halladay was a guest instructor for the Phillies in 2014 and spoke at the Phillies’ annual prospects seminar last year. Halladay tweeted in 2015 that he wants to work in a major league front office some day, eventually becoming a team president.
Halladay, 39, spent the first 12 years of his big league career with the Blue Jays, winning the 2003 American League Cy Young Award. The Phillies acquired him after the 2009 season and he went on to win the 2010 NL Cy Young Award, pitch a perfect game in the regular season, and pitch a no-hitter in the playoffs. Halladay suffered from back and shoulder issues in the final two years of his career, forcing him to retire after the 2013 season.
Outfielder Michael Taylor sent his Nationals home happy on Tuesday afternoon in a Grapefruit League game against the Astros. Taylor had replaced Bryce Harper in right field and was 0-for-1 heading into his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the score tied 3-3, against lefty Ashur Tolliver.
Taylor swung at Tolliver’s 0-1 offering which happened to be right over the heart of the plate. Taylor absolutely crushed the pitch down the left field line for a walk-off solo home run.
Tuesday marked the opening of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the new spring training home of the Nationals and Astros.
Last season, Taylor’s third in the majors, the 25-year-old posted lackluster stats, batting .231/.278/.376 in 237 plate appearances. The Nationals were reported yesterday to be interested in free agent center fielder Angel Pagan. If the club were to acquire Pagan, that would push Taylor back in to Triple-A to start the 2017 regular season.