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Bucs sign one-time slugger from Japan

From Mirror, wire reports

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates signed free agent infielder/outfielder Yoshi Tsutsugo to a Major League Baseball contract on Monday.

The 29-year-old Tsutsugo has spent a majority of the 2021 season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he hit .257 (38-for-148) with seven doubles, 10 home runs, 32 RBI in 43 games. At the time he was signed by the Pirates, he was hitting .387 (12-for-31) with three doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, a .463 on-base percentage in 10 games with Oklahoma City this month.

In 10 seasons in Japan, he totaled 205 home runs.

Tsutsugo was a member of Tampa Bay’s opening day roster for the second time in his career this season before being designated for assignment on May 11. He was then acquired by the Dodgers on May 15 and played in 12 games before being placed on the injured list.

Tsutsugo was then outrighted off Los Angeles’ roster and released. The left-handed hitting Tsutsugo played for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball Organization from 2010-19 before signing with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2019.

The Pirates designated outfielder Ka’ai Tom for assignment to make room for Tsutsugo on the roster.

Arrieta finds work

DENVER — Jake Arrieta caught on with a playoff contender after getting released by the Chicago Cubs, signing a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres on Monday.

The former NL Cy Young Award winner is expected to make his first start for San Diego Wednesday against Colorado.

The Padres signed Arrieta to add depth to their injury-plagued rotation. Chris Paddack (left oblique strain) and Yu Darvish (back tightness) are on the 10-day injured list.

San Diego manager Jayce Tingler said Arrieta was put on the team’s taxi squad after joining the team in Denver for the start of a three-game series.

The Cubs released Arrieta on Thursday, a day after he allowed eight runs in four innings against Milwaukee and mocked a reporter for wearing a mask during his postgame interview.

Arrieta went 5-11 with a 6.88 ERA in 20 starts for Chicago.

Lawyer speaks up

LOS ANGELES — An attorney for Trevor Bauer told a judge Monday that the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher had every reason to believe that a woman wanted the choking and other rough treatment he gave her in two sexual encounters that led to her seeking a five-year restraining order against him.

Shawn Holley said in opening statements at a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court that the 27-year-old San Diego woman told Bauer in private Instagram messages that she had “never been more turned on in my life” than when he choked her to unconsciousness during their first encounter in April and wanted more of the same when they got together again in May. Holley said the woman told Bauer in the messages to give her “all the pain.”

The woman alleges that without her consent, Bauer punched her, choked her with her own hair until she lost consciousness, and had anal sex with her against her will.

Bauer was put on paid administrative leave on July 2 by Major League Baseball. That has been extended through Friday. MLB and police in Pasadena, California are investigating the woman’s allegations. Bauer’s representatives have repeatedly said everything that happened between the two was consensual. The woman was granted a temporary restraining order until a hearing could be held and evidence presented for a long-term order.

The woman took the stand briefly before the Monday lunch break, and was scheduled to return for the afternoon.

She testified that she was the daughter of a baseball coach and a lifelong fan who rooted for the San Diego Padres. She said that while watching him on TV she was attracted to Bauer and his quirks, including his closing one eye while pitching.

She tagged him in an Instagram story while watching a game with her mother in April, when Bauer was pitching against the Padres. She had no expectation he would respond. But he sent her a direct message 10-15 minutes after the game, and the two began messaging each other.

The woman’s attorneys are arguing that she and Bauer had what should be considered a dating relationship, which would make the type of domestic violence restraining order she is seeking appropriate. Attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer emphasized that the two shared intimate details of each of their lives, both in messages before their meetings at his home in Pasadena and in hours of conversation when they were together.

Bauer’s attorneys dispute that, framing the relationship as a casual one based on sex. Holley pointed out text messages the woman sent to friends before she got together with Bauer, saying she was going to “get her hooks in him,” “get in his head” and get sex from him. Holley said she told Bauer in a message that she would have her “feelings button turned off.”

Meyer said the woman was badly shaken after their first encounter, in which she woke from unconsciousness to find Bauer having anal sex with her, which she had not consented to.

But, Meyer said, friendly and gentle communications in the weeks that followed convinced her to go back again.

“She was led to trust Trevor,” Meyer said, “which resulted in serious harm to her.”

Holley, Bauer’s attorney, said that before they began the second time, he asked the woman what was off limits, and she asked only that he not put his fingers down her throat, which he had done the first time, stopping when she asked him to.

Meyer said the woman had severe injuries and emotional trauma following the second meeting, in which she alleges that Bauer punched her in the face, the vagina and the buttocks.

She “felt excruciating pain, unimaginable pain, worse than she had ever experienced,” Meyer said.

She went to a hospital and had a sexual assault exam done by a nurse, and reported the incident to police, Meyer said. She decided to seek the restraining order only when she learned how long the police investigation was likely to take, Meyer said.

The woman grew emotional on the stand as she talked about struggling with alcoholism for a decade, and often experiencing trauma, some of it sexual. She testified that she has been sober since she was 25, though she lost a job helping to run a sober living house because she couldn’t work after the second incident with Bauer.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault.

Bauer agreed to a $102 million, three-year contract to join his hometown Dodgers earlier this year after winning his first Cy Young with the Cincinnati Reds last season. Bauer is 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts this season.

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