Angel Villalona Returns To The Field

Angel Villalona, the Giants first baseman whose career was derailed when he was charged with murder in 2009, played in his first professional game today in three years.

Villalona, who hasn't been able to enter the United States reportedly due to visa problems, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout today in the Dominican Summer League.

Villalona, 21, had been charged with the September 2009 murder of 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete at a bar in La Romana in the Dominican Republic. Villalona reportedly settled with the family of de Jesus Velete for approximately $139,000. A prosecutor had planned to continue with the case, but eventually the charges were dropped.

Villalona, who signed with the Giants for $2.1 million when he was 16 in 2006, had sued the Giants for breach of contract for $5 million in a Dominican court, but the two sides reportedly settled. Major League Baseball removed Villalona from the restricted list and the Giants placed him on their 40-man roster.

Had the Giants not done so, Villalona would have been exposed to the Rule 5 draft, though it's unlikely any team would have selected him, given his history and diminishing prospect status. It's hard to know if or when the U.S. Consulate might grant Villalona a visa, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he spent the rest of the year in the DSL.