Two Rockies minor leaguers charged with first degree rape, face life in prison

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This is ugly and awful: Class A Asheville relief pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were charged today with two counts each of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense. From the Asheville Citizen-Times:

The alleged offenses involved one woman and happened in the early morning hours on Saturday at the players’ apartment on Ascot Point Circle, according to a police incident report and arrest warrants. Both players have been suspended from the baseball team.

Meaux was released from custody after posting a $100,000 bond, according to The Citizen-Times. Mason is still in Buncombe County jail. Both have been ordered not to leave North Carolina.  The Rockies have released a statement:

“The Colorado Rockies and their affiliate, the Asheville Tourists, are aware of the arrests and the very serious allegations made against two players, Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux,” the Rockies said in a statement Thursday night. “Each organization is shocked and deeply concerned about the allegations. At this time, the players have been suspended as the investigation and legal process continue.

“We are working with the authorities investigating the circumstances and issues surrounding the events and are awaiting further details and findings. Given that this is an ongoing legal investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment or speculate any further.”

As MiLB.com notes, Mason had a 3.38 ERA in 21 appearances this season. Meaux had a 0.90 ERA in 16 games but hadn’t pitched since May 24 due to a right-shoulder injury.  Each of them face life in prison without parole if convicted.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.