Pirates’ Vázquez arrested on porn, solicitation charges

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star closer Felipe Vázquez has been arrested on charges of pornography and soliciting a child.

Vázquez was taken into custody Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police on one count of computer pornography/solicitation of a child and one count of providing obscene material to minors. Both charges are felonies. His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said it began investigating the 28-year-old Vázquez in August after learning of an alleged sexual relationship between Vázquez and a teenage girl living in Lee County, Florida. Authorities say Vázquez, who lives in Saint Cloud, Florida, and the victim began the relationship when the girl was 13.

The girl, now 15, allegedly received a text message from Vázquez in July in which he was performing a sex act. Vázquez also allegedly texted the girl to ask if she wanted to meet for a sexual encounter following the end of the baseball season, according to police.

Authorities arrested Vázquez and took him to Allegheny County Jail after executing a search warrant at his Pittsburgh apartment. Police said they seized electronic devices that will be used in the investigation. Vázquez will be extradited to Florida.

Vázquez, a two-time All-Star pitcher from Venezuela, is 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA for the Pirates this season. He was originally signed by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and was traded to the Washington Nationals in prior to the 2014 season. He made his MLB debut in Washington in 2015 and was later dealt to Pittsburgh in exchange for Mark Melancon at the 2016 MLB trade deadline.

Pittsburgh is scheduled to play at home against Seattle on Tuesday night. The Pirates said they have informed the MLB commissioner’s office and expect Vázquez to be placed on administrative leave.

“We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement.

WTOP’s Noah Frank contributed to this report.

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