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Pirates’ Felipe Vazquez denied bail, faces 21 new felony charges

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Pittsburgh Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez has been denied bail and is facing 21 felony counts from his alleged sexual assault of a minor.

The bail decision and announcement of additional charges were made at a Tuesday hearing in a Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, courtroom.

The new charges consist of 10 counts of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, 10 counts of child pornography and one count of corruption of a minor.

Vazquez, who was arrested in September, faces multiple felonies in both Pennsylvania and Florida. He had previously been charged with three felonies in Pennsylvania — statutory sexual assault of a minor 11 years or older; unlawful contact with a minor; and corruption of minors — as well as one misdemeanor, indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.

The 28-year-old Vazquez admitted to police in September that he tried to have sex with a then-13-year-old girl in 2017, according to a criminal complaint released by Pennsylvania State Police at the time. Police said Vazquez met the girl while he was in the bullpen at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Vazquez told police he communicated with the girl through text messages and social media and sent her nude photographs and videos of himself committing sexual acts, according to the complaint. Vazquez “claimed initially that he refused to communicate with her due to her age,” saying the girl appeared to be 16 or younger, according to the complaint.

The girl, now 16, told police Vazquez drove to her residence in Scottdale Borough, Pennsylvania, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, in August 2017. When Vazquez, then 26, arrived, the girl got into his car. She told police Vazquez placed her onto his lap, removed her pants and tried to have sex with her. Vazquez then told the girl he had to leave because he had a game that night.

In Florida, Vazquez has been charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices and giving obscene material to a minor, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Vazquez and the girl maintained contact via text messaging when she moved to Fort Myers, Florida, according to the FDLE. The girl’s mother found photographs allegedly sent from Vazquez on her daughter’s device and sent a message to Vazquez informing him the girl was a minor. The mother also called police, spurring the investigation.

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Justin Bour agrees to play for Japan’s Hanshin Tigers, report says

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TOKYO — The Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League are set to acquire major league free agent Justin Bour.

Per the Kyodo News agency, Tigers general manager Osamu Tanimoto said this week the team has reached a basic agreement with the 31-year-old Bour, who played first base for the Los Angeles Angels last season.

Hanshin officials were not available for comment on Saturday.

Bour has a career .253 batting average with 92 home runs, 303 RBIs and 433 hits over six seasons in Major League Baseball. He started his career with the Miami Marlins in 2014 and had a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018 before joining the Angels for the 2019 season.

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Seymour Siwoff, longtime Elias Sports Bureau owner, dies at 99

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Seymour Siwoff, the statistics maven who turned the Elias Sports Bureau into the place to go for exact information on teams and athletes for more than a half-century, died Friday. He was 99.

Siwoff owned Elias for more than 70 years before selling it to his grandson in March 2018. He started as an accountant in 1938 and purchased the company in 1952.

Elias was started in 1913 by brothers Al Munro Elias and Walter Bruce Elias and became official statistician of baseball’s National League in 1919. It is now the official statistician for MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLS and the NBA G-League.

Elias also works with broadcasters and sports networks such as ESPN, MLB Network, NFL Network, Turner Sports, Comcast and NESN.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mr. Niche Guy — The best free-agent fits for very specific needs

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We’re past Thanksgiving now, or at least the main event, though lots of you surely have fridges full of leftovers to dispatch. Football takes center stage during this particular holiday, which pains me to admit, but what can you do? It’s not like baseball is riding a tidal wave of happy PR at the moment.

In our sport, there has been some movement on the free-agent market. The White Sox made a splash last week by signing the best available catcher in Yasmani Grandal. The Braves jumped into the leftover backstop market to nab Travis d’Arnaud to assume co-catching duties with Tyler Flowers, a spot opened up by Brian McCann‘s retirement. The Braves also grabbed the top available reliever in all-purpose lefty Will Smith.

Not bad, considering the glacial pace of recent hot stove seasons. Those three players are the best free agents to change teams. Other solid veterans have re-upped with their old teams, a group that includes Flowers, Nick Markakis, Chris Martin and Darren O’Day — all with the proactive Braves — along with Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Adam Wainwright (Cardinals). Jake Odorizzi accepted the qualifying offer proffered by the Twins, and J.D. Martinez declined to option out of his Red Sox contract.

That’s pretty much your free-agent update. Of Keith Law’s Top 50 free agents, 43 remain unaccounted for, including the top seven. Opportunity abounds!

We tend to look at free agency through the prism of rankings, such as Keith’s list. If our team needs a pitcher, we go to the rankings, skim down to the best available guy and decide that’s who our hardworking local GM must sign. It’s a reasonable attitude.

However, it’s not the only way to look at things. While top-line evaluations of available talent are the best guides to free agency, there is also the question of fit. What are the categories in which a team’s prospective roster is deficient? And which players are most apt to shore up those specific categories? Players often fit better on some teams than others in a way not reflected in ordinal rankings.

Looking at the free-agent pool through the fit lens adds nuance to tracking the offseason. It becomes more than a matter of crossing names off the ranking list and shines a light on some names that aren’t dominating the rumor mill. The best part from the team perspective is that signing most of these players won’t break your bank.

Let’s wade into the remaining free-agent pool with this in mind by asking, and answering, a few strategic game-situation and roster-building questions.

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