Minor league pitcher charged with felonious assault
The day after the Peoria Chiefs took part in an on-field brawl that landed pitcher Julio Castillo in jail, Peoria Chiefs manager Ryne Sandberg struggled with what happened two states away.
"It’s been quite the talk (in Cooperstown) among the players," Sandberg said. "It’s kind of a helpless feeling for me because I’m so far removed from it."
The Hall of Famer is away from the team this weekend attending the annual induction festivities in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The incident drew national attention with video from the fight on several media outlets and the Internet. It shows Castillo winding up and throwing the ball that allegedly struck fan Chris McCarthy in the face.
Castillo was ordered held on $50,000 bond on Friday after being charged with felonious assault Thursday night after the brawl between the Chiefs and Dayton Dragons.
"It’s amazing how quickly it snowballed and got totally out of hand," Sandberg said. "For Julio, there’s a tough lesson to be learned."
The Dominican Republic native was arraigned via video from the Montgomery County (Ohio) Jail.
Castillo also was ordered by Dayton Municipal Judge Carl Henderson to surrender his passport.
"This charge is a result of outlandish and inexcusable conduct by a professional baseball player," Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias Heck Jr. said in a statement.
Defense attorney Kevin Braig asked for Castillo’s release. Braig did not return a call from the Journal Star.
Castillo spoke through an interpreter at the hearing and said he’s been living with his Peoria teammates in the United States for a month since joining the Chiefs.
The brawl started after Castillo hit two batters and almost hit a third in the first inning on Thursday. When acting Chiefs manager Carmelo Martinez shoved Dayton manager Donnie Scott, both benches emptied and Castillo attempted to throw the ball at a Dayton player in the dugout. Instead it hit the 44-year-old McCarthy of Middletown, Ohio.
Middletown detectives, who interviewed McCarthy on Friday as part of the investigation, told the Dayton Daily News that McCarthy plans to avoid all contact with the news media.
"It’s an unfortunate situation, especially in minor league baseball, which prides itself on family fun," Chiefs president Rocky Vonachen said Friday. "We don’t like seeing anyone get hurt, especially a fan."
Both teams were ordered by their parent clubs not to talk about the fight, in which 15 players were initially ejected and then reinstated by Midwest League president George Spelius.
"In a normal bench-clearing, there are only two or three players ejected, so then teams can put in other position players," Spelius said. "There were so many ejected they would have to use pitchers for outfielders. The fans deserve more than that."
Spelius said he is reviewing videos of the brawl and reports from the umpiring crew. A decision on suspensions is expected next week. Because of the number of players involved, the suspensions are likely to be staggered.
"It doesn’t come at a good time," Sandberg said. "We’ll take the suspensions and serve whatever is decided."
It's possible even more sanctions could be levied by the Cubs.
"We'll make sure the punishment fits the crime," Cubs vice president of player personnel Oneri Fleita told MILB.com. "These things are not condoned by the organization.
"I can assure you it's not tolerated and not condoned. We're trying to develop winning-type players, and those actions are not those of winning players."
Castillo, who was slated to start Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field, was demoted to Mesa of the Arizona Rookie League on Friday.
He was 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA in six outings.
The transactions were largely a paper move so the Chiefs pitching staff will not be short-handed.
"The one question everyone has asked me about is the pitcher," Spelius said. "That’s the Cubs’ (decision). People want to know if I can suspend him for life. I couldn’t suspend anyone for life if I wanted to."
Kevin Capie can be reached at (309) 686-3214 or email@example.com.