An already frustrating season in San Diego took another hit earlier this month when Major League Baseball fined the San Diego Padres an undisclosed amount for holding an illegal international workout this summer, according to Bleacher Report sources.
Kim Ng, MLB senior vice president, declined to comment when reached Monday. Padres president Mike Dee also declined to comment, saying he considers it a "closed matter."
The workout was held in Aruba in June, not long before the international signing period opened in July, multiple sources with knowledge of the workout told Bleacher Report. The Padres paid for flights for prospects from Venezuela and some of their parents, furnishing them with airfare, hotels and meals, the sources said.
According to MLB rules, it is forbidden to take prospects who are at an age level not yet eligible for that year's international signing period out of their native country.
This is not the first time Padres general manager A.J. Preller has run afoul of MLB's international rules. He reportedly was suspended for one month in the late 2000s for an incident in the Dominican Republic when he was working for Texas, a suspension that was reduced from three months after the Rangers appealed. The Texas club also reportedly paid a $50,000 fine.
Preller came to San Diego with a reputation for being highly successful in finding and acquiring international talent. The Padres said when they hired him last August that part of the reason they settled on Preller was because they wanted to aggressively pursue international talent.
Despite this summer's infraction, sources say, Preller's job in San Diego is not in jeopardy. The Padres signed him to a five-year deal last August, and Padres sources reaffirmed the club's intent to continue working hard to develop a fertile pipeline of talent internationally.
Ng declined to detail any investigation "of the Padres or any other major league club."
Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.
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