Cubs

Castros lawyers deny assault allegations

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Castros lawyers deny assault allegations

The Cubs woke up Friday morning to an explosive story that could be damaging to their young star.

WBBM reported that Starlin Castro has been accused of sexual assault and is under investigation by Chicago police. The news radio station cited anonymous sources in describing an incident with a woman more than three months ago in River North.

No charges have been filed. Castro has retained two prominent attorneys Jay K. Reisinger and Michael P. Gillespie who released the following statement:

We are aware of certain allegations that have been made against our client. (We) have thoroughly investigated this matter, and we are confident that these allegations are baseless. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.

Reisinger has advised Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte and Sammy Sosa through congressional hearings and investigations into performance-enhancing drugs. Gillespie has a criminal-defense practice rooted in Chicago.

The WBBM story indicated that Castro and a young woman were out drinking on Sept. 29, the day after the Cubs ended their season in San Diego. They left the bar around 3 a.m. and went to Castros downtown apartment, where the police report obtained by WBBM says the alleged victim blacked out and woke up during the attack.

The timeline constructed by the radio station has her leaving around 5:30 a.m. and going to a hospital about 12 hours later, at which point the police were notified.

Castro lives in the Dominican Republic during the offseason. The 21-year-old All-Star shortstop returned to Chicago in the middle of November for a meeting with his agent, Paul Kinzer, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and new manager Dale Sveum.

Even if there were whispers about an investigation, it was difficult to see it coming out quite like this.

A press release sent out by the team on Thursday highlighted how Castro would be attending next weeks Cubs Convention. Even Friday morning the teams official website still used his image to promote ticket plans and travel packages to Arizona for spring training.

During Fridays conference call to announce the Anthony Rizzo-Andrew Cashner trade with the San Diego Padres, general manager Jed Hoyer confirmed that Castro is expected to be in town for the convention.

Im not going to answer questions directly about it, Hoyer said. Theres the time and place. The police (are) still very much in the fact-finding mode on this whole thing. To comment on any part of this matter involving Starlin would be really inappropriate because the investigation is incomplete.

Castro was the type of player the Cubs would like to build their entire team around. Hes the face of the franchise in the Dominican, where the organization plans to construct a new facility. The marketing department put him on billboards opposite Derek Jeter to hype a marquee series against the New York Yankees last season.

We are aware that a police report was filed regarding an incident involving Starlin, but we have received limited information, the team said in a statement. While this is something we take very seriously, there is not enough information to make any further comment or take action at this time. We are hopeful when the facts are brought to light, Starlin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

In the age of Twitter and Facebook, Castro made it through his first two seasons in Chicago without any embarrassing photos showing up on the Internet. Several teammates and staffers have expressed admiration for how he has handled the spotlight, and wondered how they would have responded at that age.

Castros family lived with him for most of the season his parents had returned to the Dominican by the middle of September and his younger brothers made regular appearances at Wrigley Field.

Hoyer declined to say how this will impact Castros standing in the organization, or if the young shortstop will be available for spring training.

We expect our players to behave with the highest level of respect on the field, off the field and in the community, Hoyer said. Being a member of the Cubs carries with it a very high standard of conduct and responsibility.

While we cannot address this particular matter at this time, we do want to emphasize our organizations commitment to being respectful members in the community (and) positive examples to our great fans.

Yu Darvish thinks the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title

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USA Today

Yu Darvish thinks the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title

The Astros' sign-stealing scandal is personal for a lot of players, though it probably hits a little differently for Yu Darvish. 

Darvish was a member of the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers team that Houston beat in the World Series. Darvish didn't have his best performance in the series and when asked about the scandal, the Cubs' pitcher didn't hold back:

It's a weird feeling. Like, in the Olympics, when a player cheats, you can't have a Gold medal, right? But they still have as World Series title. That makes me feel weird. That's it. And one more thing. With [Carlos] Correra talking about [Cody] Bellinger. I saw that yesterday. So they cheat, and I think right now that they don't have to talk. They shouldn't talk like that right now.

You can watch the video of Darvish's comments, from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, it right here.

The comments took on a life of their own, as Astros' soundbytes have been known to do over the last few weeks or so. Darvish was ready for the clapback, though, and delivered a final blow to some poor 'Stros fan who thought he could compete with Darvish on twitter dot com. 

Sign a lifetime contract, Yu. Never leave us.

Related: Bryant crushes Astros for cheating scandal: 'What a disgrace that was' 

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Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

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USA TODAY

Jason Kipnis comes home looking to write one final chapter of his career

Jason Kipnis, who’s potentially the Cubs’ new second baseman but indisputably the pride of Northbrook, said there’s one major reason why his possible reunion with Wrigley Field is so exciting.

“Now I don’t have to hate the 'Go Cubs Go' song,” he quipped.

Kipnis was a late addition to the Cubs’ roster, and still not even a guaranteed one at that. After almost a decade spent being one of the Cleveland Indians’ cornerstones, Kipnis arrived in Mesa on a minor league contract, looking to win a job. Ironically, being with his hometown team is unfamiliar territory for the two-time All-Star. 

“[Leaving Cleveland] was hard at first,” he said. “You get used to the same place for 9-10 years, and I think it’s a little hard right now coming in and being the new guy and being lost and not knowing where to go. But it’ll be fun. It’s exciting. It’s kind of out of the comfort zone again, which is kind of what you want right now – to be uncomfortable. I don’t know, I’ve missed this feeling a little bit, so it’ll be good.”

It was a slow offseason for the second baseman, but the second baseman said he was weighing offers from several teams. Opportunity and organizational direction dictated most of his decision-making, but Kipnis admitted the forces around him were all, rather unsubtly, pulling him in one direction.

“They were telling me to take a deal, take a cut, whatever. Just get here,” he joked. “... It made sense, it really did. I think I didn't fully understand it until it was announced and my phone started blowing up and I realized just how many people this impacted around my life. Friends and family still live in Chicago, so it’s going to be exciting.”

The theme of renewed motivation has hung around Sloan Park like an early-morning Arizona chill, and Kipnis said part of the reason he feels the Cubs brought him in is to set a fire under some guys. He talked with Anthony Rizzo during the offseason, who talked about how the Cubs had struggled at times to put an appropriate emphasis on each of the 162 games in a regular season. That’s not a new problem in baseball, and it struck a chord with Kipnis, who himself was on plenty of talented Cleveland teams that never got over the hump. 

“They got a good core here. I’m well aware of that, they’re well aware of that, too,” he said. “I texted him and called him and asked him what happened last year, because I look at rosters, I look at St. Louis’, I look at all that, and I’m like, ‘I still would take your guys' roster.’” 

As for his direct competition, Kipnis said he hasn’t had a chance to really get to know Nico Hoerner yet, but doesn’t feel like the battle for second base has to be a contentious one by any means. At 32, Kipnis has been around long enough to understand the dynamics an aging veteran vs. a top prospect, and doesn't feel like it’s a situation where only one of them will end up benefiting. 

“I know he came up and had a pretty good success, so I think [it’s] going to be a competition, but at the same time, I’m not going to try to put him down,” he said. “I’d like to work with him, kind of teach him what I know too and hopefully both of us become better from it.”