According to a Sanspo report via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have announced the signing of outfielder Lastings Milledge.
Former Athletics and Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker actually spoiled the news earlier this month, but the signing is now official.
Milledge will earn around $570,000 next season while his contract includes a club option for 2013.
It wasn’t too long ago that Milledge was considered a top prospect in the Mets’ organization, but his stock has plummeted in recent years. He actually made the White Sox Opening Day roster this past season, but was quickly designated for assignment in early-April and spent the rest of the year at the Triple-A level after passing through waivers unclaimed. The 26-year-old has a .269/.328/.395 batting line and .723 OPS over 1,659 plate appearances in the majors.
MLB.com’s Alyson Footer reports that the Astros will display the number for the domestic violence hotline on fliers in bathroom stalls at Minute Maid Park. That was one of several efforts the organization committed to in an announcement on Monday. Other efforts include partnering with more than a dozen local and state agencies which advocate for preventing domestic violence.
The Astros Foundation has also donated $214,000 to Family Services of Southeast Texas to complete its women’s center. The Astros Foundation is also donating $10,000 to the Montgomery County Women’s Shelter and will sponsor several fundraisers with The FamilyTime Crisis and Counseling Center, Fort Bend County Women’s Center, Daya, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, and the Houston Area Women’s Center. Furthermore, the Astros Foundation is partnering with AVDA to facilitate the Futures Without Violence Program which “teaches leaders and coaches how to break the cycle of family violence by educating the next generation.”
The Astros’ effort involving the fliers sticks out, though, because a fan was kicked out of Minute Maid Park last month for holding up a sign simply displaying the number for the Houston Area Women’s Center’s domestic violence hotline number. Hopefully, the Astros have reached out to that fan to apologize and make up for an egregious decision.
The Astros are making this effort because the organization has come under tremendous controversy since trading for embattled closer Roberto Osuna earlier this season. On June 22, Osuna was suspended 75 games for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. Osuna had been arrested on May 8 in Toronto and charged with domestic assault. In late September, Osuna showed up in Toronto court and the charges were withdrawn — largely because his accuser did not wish to travel from Mexico to appear in court — and he accepted a peace bond.
In the time since Osuna was acquired, various members of the Astros including Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, and Ryan Pressly went out their way to defend him from the press and from fans. The Astros’ aforementioned efforts to do right will ring hollow if they continue to bring alleged abusers on board then shield them.
(As I write this, by the way, Osuna just got hammered for five runs in the top of the eighth inning. He gave up a grand slam to Jackie Bradley, Jr. to cap off his disastrous appearance. Does karma exist? Tough to say.)