Once upon a time, Angel Villalona was a highly regarded first base prospect with the Giants. However, he hasn’t played in the United States since 2009 because of a murder charge in his native Dominican Republic. Nearly four years later, he’s going to get the opportunity to resume his career stateside.
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Villalona has received a travel visa and will be in big league camp with the Giants this spring. He is expected to join the team next week in Arizona.
Villalona spent three months in jail after being accused of killing a 25-year-old man in a nightclub in September of 2009, but the charges were eventually dismissed following a $139,000 settlement with the victim’s family. After dropping a breach of contract lawsuit against the Giants, Villalona was added back to the 40-man roster last offseason and protected from the Rule 5 Draft. However, because he failed to obtain a visa, he spent last season in the Dominican Summer League.
Putting Villalona’s legal problems aside, the odds are against him reestablishing himself as a prospect, as his stock was on the decline even before the arrest. The 22-year-old compiled a terrible 235/45 K/BB ratio over his first three seasons in pro ball and had issues with conditioning.
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.
Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.
The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.
Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.
After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.
Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.
Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.
The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.