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.