Cardinals take gay ex-player’s allegation ‘very seriously’

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ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis Cardinals said they’re taking allegations that a gay minor-league pitcher abandoned baseball because of homophobia “very seriously.”

Tyler Dunnington, whom the Cardinals selected in the 2014 draft, told Outsports.com in a report published Wednesday that he heard derogatory comments from college coaches and later unidentified teammates in the pros. He said that “each comment felt like a knife to my heart.”

General manager John Mozeliak told The Associated Press in a statement Thursday that he’s “very disappointed” to learn about the 24-year-old’s experiences, adding that “our hope is that every player, staff member and employee feels they are treated equally and fairly.

“Given the nature of these allegations I will certainly look into this further as well as speak with Billy Bean of the Commissioner’s office for further assistance on this matter. … We will take this very seriously,” Mozeliak said.

Dunnington spent most of the summer after he was drafted with the Cardinals’ rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League, a team based in Jupiter, Florida. He said he felt uncomfortable revealing his sexual orientation to the Cardinals and retired a year ago before spring training for “my own sanity.”

Dunnington, who was 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 18 games as a reliever, told the website that he should have worked to “help change the game” and that quitting “isn’t the way to handle adversity.” Dunnington didn’t immediately respond to an email from the AP.

In 2013, Major League Baseball established a policy prohibiting players from harassing or discriminating against other players based on sexual orientation. Bean, baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he’s sought out Dunnington to discuss and understand his experience, though Bean said there was “no precedent” for an investigation of this nature.

Dunnington told the website that in one conversation, a Cardinals teammate mentioned he had a gay brother. Dunnington said that after “some supportive talk,” two other teammates questioned how someone could be friends with a gay person and “even mentioned ways to kill gay people.”

“This is something that reminds me I have a lot of work to do, and it’s a challenge,” said Bean, a former big leaguer who publicly revealed in 1999 that he is gay and joined the commissioner’s office a year later.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he had been told about the allegations and that the team would “try to figure out ways so they can have an atmosphere where they can be as good as they can be.”

Shohei Ohtani agrees to $30 million deal for 2023 with Angels

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shohei Ohtani agreed to a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels for the 2023 season in the two-way superstar’s final year of arbitration eligibility before free agency.

The Angels announced the deal, avoiding a potentially complicated arbitration case with the 2021 AL MVP.

Ohtani’s deal is fully guaranteed, with no other provisions. The contract is the largest ever given to an arbitration-eligible player, surpassing the $27 million given to Mookie Betts by the Boston Red Sox in January 2020, a month before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ohtani is having another incredible season at the plate and on the mound for the Angels, regularly accomplishing feats that haven’t occurred in the major leagues since Babe Ruth’s heyday. He is a strong contender for the AL MVP award again alongside the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, who has tied the AL home run record and is closing in on the batting Triple Crown.

Ohtani is batting .276 with 34 homers, 94 RBIs and a .888 OPS as the Halos’ designated hitter. He is 15-8 with a 2.35 ERA and 213 strikeouts as their ace on the mound, and opponents are batting only .207 against him.

The 28-year-old Ohtani still will be a free agent after the 2023 season, and his future could be tied to the immediate fortunes of the Angels, who will complete their seventh consecutive losing season next week. The Angels didn’t trade Ohtani at the deadline despite being out of the playoff race again, and Ohtani is wildly popular among the club’s fans.

Ohtani repeatedly has said winning will be an important factor in choosing his home beyond 2023, and Angels owner Arte Moreno is currently exploring a sale of the team.

Moreno’s leadership has been widely criticized during the Angels’ mostly miserable run of play since 2009, and a fresh start with deep-pocketed new owners could be the best chance to persuade Ohtani to stay with the franchise he joined in 2018 from Japan. Ohtani immediately won the AL Rookie of the Year award, and he rounded into unique form last season after recovering fully from Tommy John surgery.