Villalona could get second chance with Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
Angel Villalona appears headed for a second chance with the San Francisco Giants after being cleared of murder charges in his native Dominican Republic.
Bobby Evans, Giants vice president of baseball operations, said Saturday that Villalona could be reinstated into the organization's farm system in the coming weeks. The Giants are in the process of working to resolve a lawsuit brought against them by Villalona seeking back wages and punitive damages.
''It sounds like everything is going to be resolved in the next few days or the coming weeks - very shortly,'' Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter said.
Villalona had been charged in the September 2009 death of a 25-year-old man at a bar in his Caribbean homeland. He was freed on bond that November after the family of the man he was accused of killing asked a judge in the Dominican Republic to drop the case.
But Villalona was also stripped of his U.S. visa in November that year.
He received a $2.1 million bonus when the Giants signed him at age 16 in August 2006. It was the biggest bonus the franchise had ever given to an amateur player.
He was considered among the club's top prospects before the 2008 season and was selected for the Futures Game during All-Star festivities that year. San Francisco reportedly outbid the New York Yankees, Mets, Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners for Villalona.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound slugging first baseman had drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, Adrian Beltre and Wily Mo Pena. He played in 74 games for Class-A San Jose in '09, batting .267 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs.
If he is reinstated, Villalona might initially report to the team's Dominican academy.