Esteban Loaiza pitched for 14 years in the major leagues. He’s now facing way more time than that in the California Penal League.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Loaiza was arrested in San Diego County on Friday for transporting roughly 44 pounds of heroin and cocaine. His arrest report is reproduced below, courtesy of Jeff Passan of Yahoo.
Loaiza is due to be arraigned on Wednesday. Bail has been set at $200,000. At least one news outlet — Univision — questions whether the former big leaguer can make that bail. Loaiza, Univision notes, was one married to the late singer Jenni Rivera, but she filed for divorce from him in the months before her death in a plane crash, in part due to allegations of financial impropriety on his part. Whatever the case, Loaiza is in deep trouble.
Loaiza pitched for eight different teams in his career, spending four years with the Pirates and three years each with the White Sox, Rangers and Blue Jays. He spent two years in L.A. and Oakland — where he got a DUI in 20o6 — and a year each with the Yankees and Nationals. His best season came in 2003 when he went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA for the White Sox, finishing second in the Cy Young balloting. For his career he was 126-114 with a 4.65 ERA in 377 games, starting 333 of them.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.