It was the Facebook post about the strip club that ended Josh Sale's 2013 season, that led to his suspension by the organization and sent the Tampa Bay Rays 2010 first-round pick home to, as Rays farm director Mitch Lukevics said, grow up. On Wednesday, Sale stood in front of a locker in the Rays' clubhouse and admitted that was the best course of action. “It was demoralizing,” Sale said. “But it's something my actions induced. It's nothing that could have been avoided.” The outfielder, taken 17th overall after his senior year in high school, was rated the sixth-best prospect by Baseball America entering the 2011 season. He was named to the Midwest League midseason all-star team in 2012 while playing at Class A Bowling Green, but he saw that season cut short when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for methamphetamine and amphetamines. Sale attended the Rays' Winter Development Program in January 2013 and talked about the lessons he learned from his suspension. But last May, he was suspended indefinitely by the organization after posting on Facebook that he was kicked out of a strip club for throwing 50 cents at a stripper. “When the (Facebook) thing came out, it was like, 'Come on. You're embarrassing yourself. You're embarrassing the organization.' It was time for him to reflect on his maturation and get his life together,” Lukevics said. “I preach to these kids all the time, life is bigger than baseball. Without life, we have no baseball. I preach that they are a human being more than a baseball player. In Josh's case, it was about the maturation level. 'Come on, it's time to grow up, son.' ” Sale returned home to Seattle and went about growing up. He said he talked nearly every day to Vince Lodato, the director of the Rays' employee assistance program. He was told to meet certain criteria that neither he nor Lukevics would discuss (the Rays do not allow Lodato to speak with the media).
Rays prospect Josh Sale works to get life in order
Tampa Tribune | Jan 16