Torii Hunter was not in the team’s lineup on Monday night when they faced off against the Oakland Athletics because he had flown home to Prosper, Texas, to be with his family after his son, Darius McClinton-Hunter, had been arrested. Hunter has been placed on the restricted list by the team for personal reasons.
Hunter was with the team in the clubhouse Monday morning when reports of his son’s arrest started coming across the clubhouse television. According to ESPN.com, McClinton-Hunter, 17, was one of five Dallas-area high school students arrested on Monday after a month long investigation of sexual assualt of a child, which is a second-degree felony. McClinton-Hunter was one of two adults charged, along with three juveniles, and Prosper police say that more charges could be filed. Hunter’s son was released Monday evening on $15,000 bond.
For the Angels, they have no set timetable for when they expect Hunter to return to the team, but are expressing that he can take as long as he needs. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said “We’re certainly willing and able to allow him to take all the time he needs to (take care of) that,” and manager Mike Scioscia echoed the sentiment saying “It’s a personal issue. We’ll go day to day with it and just see where it is.” The team recalled Ryan Langerhans from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill Hunter’s roster spot and gave Mark Trumbo the start in right field on Monday and expect to give him the majority of playing time in Hunter’s absence.
Hunter is known as a proud family man and is one of the most popular players on the team among teammates. LaTroy Hawkins, who also has a home in Prosper, Texas, laid out the team’s support of Hunter and his priorities, saying, “He’s a parent. Baseball comes second, family comes first,” so everyone expects Hunter to see this family crisis through to the end. What that means for Hunter the rest of this season is unclear and casts further uncertainty on his long-term status with the team as he’s playing in the final year of a five-year deal. Hunter could decide to stay at home with his family and walk away from baseball altogether…and nobody could fault him for it.
Torii’s son, Darius, has become a prep-football star back in Texas. He’s gotten some serious consideration from big time programs, including Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, SMU, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech to play wide reciever, and has already received scholarship offers from SMU and Texas Tech. Torii has said that his son would love to play for Oregon, but he may not get the chance to play ever again now. If found guilty, McClinton-Hunter could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
A young man with such a bright future now faces some dark times ahead and Torii Hunter is where any father should be during trying times like these. It can be situations like this that remind us all that baseball is just a game and there are so many more important aspects to our lives. Halo Hangout sends Torii and his family our thoughts and support as they go through a very difficult time.