The Mariners today confirmed a KING-5 report from last night that pro scouting director Carmen Fusco has been fired, effective immediately. Last night’s report stated that the firing was, in part, related to the team’s acquisition of relief pitcher Josh Lueke in the Cliff Lee trade.
The Mariners are not saying why Fusco was fired.
Many of you know that, in a recent front-page story, we reported on Lueke’s no contest plea late last year to a reduced felony charge of false imprisonment with violence in a rape and sodomy case that dates back to May 2008.
In the story, we quoted former pitching coach Rick Adair saying he told Fusco’s boss, Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik , about Lueke and his history — on and off the field — well before the trade. Zduriencik confirmed in the story that he’d spoken to Adair about up to 15 or 20 Rangers prospects roughly 10 days before the deal.
But Zduriencik insisted the conversation was limited to the players’ on-field talents.
Adair was the minor league pitching co-ordinator in Texas — directly responsible for overseeing all Rangers mound prospects, including Lueke — during the time the police investigation into the rape began. Lueke wasn’t arrested until nine months after first being interviewed — a delay caused by the time it took for a crime lab to process DNA samples collected from multiple people in the case.
Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels also alluded, in our story, to the Mariners knowing Lueke’s history ahead of the deal. Daniels also said he had made a standing offer to take Lueke back in a separate deal if the Mariners wanted to give him up.
Mariners president Chuck Armstrong has said repeatedly that he knew nothing of Lueke’s criminal background before the deal. Armstrong has repeated that claim to women’s groups partnered with the Mariners in a Refuse to Abuse campaign.
Zduriencik and Armstrong say the team did not perform a basic internet search before the trade that would have brought up details of Lueke’s court case and plea. The team has since revamped its policy and now makes such searches mandatory.
But it’s now been 11 days since our story ran and Armstrong and Zduriencik have yet to comment, in public, about the claims by Adair — and, in part, Daniels — that Zduriencik was told about Lueke’s past well before the trade.
The Mariners have also yet to refute any aspect of our story and did not send front office representatives (other than their traveling secretary) on the team’s recent road trip.
September 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM