Texas Rangers

The most dangerous place in sports? The Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen

Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig (66) pulls away from Tucker Barnhart (16) as he attempts to re-enter a bench clearing during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Cincinnati Reds’ Yasiel Puig (66) pulls away from Tucker Barnhart (16) as he attempts to re-enter a bench clearing during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) AP

The most dangerous place in the sports world at the moment might be the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen.

Weird, violent — and now illegal — situations keep emanating from the Pirates clubhouse, specifically, their bullpen.

The latest and most serious situation broke on Tuesday when their All-Star closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested in Pennsylvania for solicitation of a child and statutory sexual assault after the mother of a now 15-year-old girl discovered texts from Vazquez on her daughter’s phone. Vazquez apparently started a relationship with the girl when she was 13.

But things have been unraveling in the Pirates’ bullpen for a while now.

Last week reliever Kyle Crick had surgery to repair a tendon in his right index finger after suffering an injury during a clubhouse altercation with Vazquez. in San Francisco. The teammates were both fined by the club.

Former Rangers reliever Keone Kela was suspended for 10 games after arguing with coach in July.

Bullpen coach Euclides Rojas was suspended two games for an altercation with Crick in July.

Crick and Kela also had starring roles in a brawl with the Cincinnati Reds on July 30. Kela threw a pitch over the head of a Reds’ batter that lit the fuse.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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