Yanks fire Latin American scouts amid probe, official says

Updated: January 14, 2010, 6:24 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

A Major League Baseball source said Friday that the New York Yankees decided to fire two scouts for taking kickbacks from Dominican prospects after being briefed by MLB investigators on the financial scandal and the role the men played in it.

The fired officials were identified as Carlos Rios, the Yankees director of Latin American scouting, and Ramon Valdivia, the team's Dominican Republic scouting director. The two, who had been on leave, were terminated Thursday.

The source said that the Yankees have worked closely with MLB on the investigation. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman declined comment.

MLB investigators are still preparing a report on the skimming issue for commissioner Bud Selig. The report is expected to be finished within weeks, the source said.

Earlier this month, ESPN reported that Carlos Rios was a target of investigators for forcing several players to kick back a portion of their signing-bonus money. Sources have told ESPN that the investigation is expected to implicate roughly 20 employees on "a handful" of teams.

The 20 or so employees either received money or were aware of others who did. In late July, the Red Sox's Dominican scouting supervisor, Pablo Lantigua, was fired after MLB investigators confronted him about allegedly skimming signing bonuses, according to an MLB source.

Investigators have also expanded their probe to Venezuela, where many major league clubs have academies.

Federal authorities also have been part of this probe. But sources have said FBI agents have limited their investigation to allegations surrounding fired White Sox official David Wilder, Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden and Nationals special assistant Jose Rijo.

The White Sox also said findings from baseball's investigation had been given to federal authorities.

Bowden has confirmed that he has spoken with federal authorities but insists he has done nothing wrong; he said the FBI agents had asked him nothing about his own activities.

Information from ESPN.com investigative reporter Mike Fish, ESPN reporter T.J. Quinn and The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE