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Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell is not expected to serve any jail time stemming from his Oct. 28 arrest in Arizona, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday. If that holds true, the A’s expect Maxwell, who made headlines when he became the first MLB player to kneel in protest during the national anthem, to be their primary catcher for the 2018 season.
Maxwell was arrested and booked on felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after he allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person at his home in Scottdale, Ariz. It’s reported Maxwell pleaded not guilty to both charges in superior court on Tuesday. An initial pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 28, the report notes. A comprehensive pretrial conference is set for Jan. 29, though Slusser’s source expects a plea deal will be reached before Maxwell’s case goes to trial.
The A’s issued a statement expressing their disappointment within hours of Maxwell’s arrest. The team had not commented on Maxwell’s legal situation since then. That was until Tuesday, when general manager David Forst reiterated that the catcher’s job was Maxwell’s to lose barring unseen developments on the legal front. Here’s more from Slusser’s report.
Not an item on the A’s wish list: a catcher. Forst reiterated Tuesday that Bruce Maxwell remains the team’s primary catcher despite his legal issues; Maxwell is facing charges of assault in Scottsdale, Ariz., stemming from allegations that he waved a gun at a fast-food delivery person in October.
“We’re expecting Bruce to ready to go the first day of spring training and to be with us,” Forst told the media at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. “I’m not getting involved in the legal side of this but no one has said anything to me that makes me believe he won’t be ready to go.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin was a little more pessimistic about Maxwell’s availability, indicating that he’s not going to assume anything until a resolution is reached.
“I have texted with him a little bit. You know, the process is still playing out,” Melvin said Tuesday. “Hopefully, we can get past this, and he moves on and comes to spring training with this behind him, but I’m not sure that’s going to be the case. Just trying to do the best he can to stay positive. It’s an unfortunate incident and he made a mistake. Hopefully, he can get past that.”
Assuming Maxwell accepts a plea deal, there’s a chance Maxwell could still receive a suspension from Major League Baseball. So the A’s could have other hurdles to clear before Maxwell could be counted on. What’s clear though is that the A’s are throwing their support behind Maxwell regardless of when he’s available. Dustin Garneau and Josh Phegley are the only other catchers currently on the major-league roster, and despite Maxwell’s troubles there are no plans to add to that mix.
We’re not so sure A’s fans or baseball fans in general would be so welcoming. Maxwell was already a polarizing figure because of his decision to kneel in protest of social injustices that he believes are taking place in the United States. Maxwell earned a lot of support for his act, but disappointed many of the same people with the alleged actions that led to his arrest.
Maxwell’s arrest and subsequent return to the field, whenever that happens, will undoubtedly be met with some passionate responses. Now we wait to see when that return will occur, and if the A’s will in any way be moved to change their stance.
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