PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Pirates all-star closer Felipe Vázquez has been arrested following an investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said.
Vázquez, 28, was charged with one count of computer pornography — solicitation of a child — and one count of providing obscene materials to minors, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) said in a news release Tuesday.
The investigation into Vázquez began in August after agents learned of his alleged relationship with a teen girl from Lee County, Fla., police said.
Vázquez, of Saint Cloud, Fla., and the victim, now 15, have continued their relationship through text messaging, police said. In some messages, investigators alleged the pitcher suggested they would meet for sex after the baseball season ended, FOX News reported.
In July, the all-star pitcher reportedly sent her a video that showed him performing a sex act, police said.
In the police affidavit, it says the mother of the victim found texts, photographs and the video sent by Vazquez to her daughter. On July 23, the mother “sent a text message, to include a screen shot of the photographs” to Vazquez to inform him that her daughter was a minor, ESPN reported.
Vazquez has been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball, though sources told ESPN that the league is not launching an immediate investigation because it plans to use law enforcement findings in pursuing potential discipline for Vazquez.
“Today we were made aware of an active law enforcement investigation involving Felipe Vazquez and his subsequent arrest,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. “We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously. We have informed the Commissioner’s Office of the investigation and arrest.
“The Commissioner’s Office will immediately place Felipe Vazquez on Administrative Leave (and, as a result, Restricted List) pursuant to the Joint MLB/MLBPA Policy. We need to be respectful to all involved and the ongoing legal proceeding. As a result, the organization, our staff and players cannot comment any further at this time.”
As a result of the investigation, FDLE agents and the Pennsylvania State Police took Vázquez into custody after serving a warrant at his Pittsburgh apartment. Moreover, investigators seized several electronic devices, which they said will be examined as part of the investigation.
Consequently, he may face additional charges depending on the results of the forensic exams, police said.
Vazquez, the Pirates’ closer, is 5-1 with 28 saves, 90 strikeouts and a 1.65 ERA this season. He is a two-time All-Star selection and is signed with the Pirates through at least 2021.
Vázquez was taken to Allegheny County Jail and will be extradited to Florida.