Three days after being arrested on misdemeanor shoplifting charges, Leake looks to help the Reds avoid a fifth straight loss Thursday and first sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park.
Leake (2-0, 5.40 ERA) was arrested by Cincinnati police Monday at a downtown department store, accused of removing the tags from six T-shirts and trying to steal them. The shirts were valued at $59.88. Leake is making $425,000 in his second season in the majors.
After discussions within the organization, manager Dusty Baker decided to keep the 23-year-old right-hander on schedule to start. Leake has not talked publicly about the incident, other than to issue an apology “for this distraction.”
In his first court hearing Tuesday, Leake’s lawyer asked to let him enter a diversion program for first-time offenders. If accepted, he would pay a $200 fee, likely perform volunteer work and take a class.
Baker and the Reds hope baseball can be a pleasant distraction for Leake, who allowed two runs in six innings of an 11-2 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
“We talked about how he felt and could he handle the pressures of it, and he said yeah,” Baker said. “Sometimes when you’re in times of trouble, it’s easier to go to work than to not go to work.
“Hopefully this will be a sanctuary from what transpired this week.”
Leake, who pitched for Arizona State, will try for a better outing against the Diamondbacks after he allowed six runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 10-8 loss at Arizona on April 10.
The Diamondbacks (8-8) hope to extend their season-high winning streak to four games while looking for their first sweep in Cincinnati since Aug. 13-15, 2002 - the year before Great American Ball Park opened.
Drew is batting .326 this season, and .405 during a 10-game hitting streak versus Cincinnati.
The right-hander has allowed nine earned runs in 19 innings over three starts, but his teammates have scored just four. Hudson allowed five runs and struck out 10 in six innings of a 5-2 loss to San Francisco on Friday.
“He has thrown good games for us and has nothing to show for it,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
He allowed two runs in seven innings of a 6-1 loss to the Reds on April 9, dropping his record to 1-2 with a 2.05 ERA versus Cincinnati. The victory came in Cincinnati, when he allowed four hits in eight scoreless innings of a 3-1 win Sept. 14.
The Reds, who have not been at .500 since May 8, have totaled eight runs and 13 hits over the last three games.
“As long as we don’t panic and continue to work hard, it’ll be great,” Baker said. “I’m not happy, but I’m positive.”