Boston Red Sox prospect Drake Britton got himself into hot water earlier in spring training because of bad decisions and may now have to pay big.
He was taken into custody at 4:42 a.m. after being clocked at 111 mph in a 45 mph zone. He led police on a brief chase before jumping a curb with his truck and knocking over a barbed-wire fence before coming to a stop.
Britton refused a breath test on the scene, but showed signs of intoxication and admitted to police that he had been drinking.
ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes reported that Britton is scheduled for a hearing in Florida on April 12, where he faces multiple misdemeanor charges, including DUI, reckless driving and property damage.
If found guilty, he faces up to a year in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
Britton was given a $700,000 signing bonus after being Boston’s 23rd-round selection in the 2007 draft, according to a CSNNE.com report. This swayed him to decide to play professional baseball instead of attending Texas A&M University.
He struggled with injuries earlier in his career, including Tommy John surgery in 2009.
Often compared to Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, the 23-year-old Britton was just a combined 4-18 with a 4.82 ERA in his first four professional seasons.
But, Britton had the best season of his career last year, going a combined 7-12 with a 4.44 ERA and 118 strikeouts between high Single-A and Double-A.
He had just a 5.80 ERA in 10 games with high Single-A Salem before being called up to Double-A Portland, where he had a 3.72 ERA in 16 games for the Sea Dogs.
Following his arrest, Britton was optioned to Double-A Portland, where he is expected to start the season.
Prior to being cut from camp, the southpaw had allowed five hits, four walks and three runs in 3.1 innings this spring, which was his first big-league camp.
According to WEEI’s Alex Speier, the prospect was tightlipped about his situation, stating, “I’m extremely remorseful… I’m sorry for the negativity that I brought, but that’s about all I can say right now. I’d really rather not say anything else.”
Edes reported that Boston GM Ben Cherington confirmed in an email that Britton is currently a full participant in minor league camp.
It’s unknown how his upcoming hearing may impact his season or even his status with the organization.
Britton had an extraordinary opportunity this spring to play and learn with the major leaguers he hopes to one day have as teammates. That all ended because of his decision to drink and drive, and he will now face the consequences, which could be severe.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference