Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich throws during an NCAA college baseball game against UC Davis in Corvallis, Ore.
Former Oregon State star pitcher Luke Heimlich, whose status as a likely first-round Major League draft pick was scuttled when it emerged he'd pleaded guilty at age 15 to sexually abusing his 6-year-old niece, has reportedly signed with a Mexican League baseball team.
The left-handed former standout signed with the Dos Laredos Tecolotes in advance of the April 5 season opener, ESPN reported Wednesday, citing multiple sources.
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Heimlich, who last month turned 23, was the 2018 national college pitcher of the year after going 16-1 with a 2.32 ERA and striking out 151 hitters in 120 1/3 innings for the Beavers. He helped the team win the College Baseball World Series, as well.
But he went undrafted by MLB teams in 2017 and 2018 and failed to sign with any team after the draft.
The Pullyap, Wash., native initially was charged with two counts of molestation but ultimately pleaded guilty to one count, with prosecutors dismissing the other. The alleged sex abuse occurred between February 2011 and December 2011, during which time Heimlich was 15.
Heimlich has maintained his innocence and said he pleaded guilty to spare his family the ordeal of a trial and due to bad advice.
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He initially signed a contract with a Chinese Professional Baseball League team in August, but the league disallowed the agreement because of its zero-tolerance policy regarding teams signing players with a criminal past.
The Kansas City Royals also raised eyebrows last June when general manager Dayton Moore said the organization was looking into signing Heimlich, but the team ultimately opted not to do so.
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