Mon, Aug 13, 2018 - Page 10 News List

CPBL rejects controversial US pitcher for image’s sake

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) will not allow pitcher Luke Heimlich, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to child molestation, to play for the Lamigo Monkeys, because his signing could adversely affect the league’s image.

The decision, announced on Friday, was made based on Article 94 of the CPBL’s rules, which allows the league to end the contract of foreign players immediately if they hurt the league’s image with convictions for major violations, CPBL said in a statement.

The Monkeys, who on Tuesday last week announced that they had reached a deal with the 22-year-old Oregon State left-hander, called the decision unfair, saying that they deeply regretted how the CPBL had only focused on the “league’s image” without taking other points into consideration.

Heimlich had pleaded guilty to a felony charge of molesting his six-year-old niece when he was 15, but he completed his probation and his criminal record has been erased, they said, adding that the decision also ignores his achievements as a player.

Heimlich was considered one of college baseball’s top pitchers this year and he helped Oregon State win this year’s College World Series, but he went undrafted in the major leagues for a second year in a row.

“It would be truly regrettable if a potential first-round pick has no place to showcase his talent,” team general manager Justin Liu said when the Monkeys announced his signing, but the team was widely criticized for the move.

The New Taipei City-based Fubon Guardians and Tainan-based Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions on Friday expressed support for the league’s decision regarding Heimlich.

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