Mets bring outfielder Khalil Lee, subject of MLB probe, to spring training
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets minor-league outfielder Khalil Lee, the subject of an MLB investigation for his alleged assault of a former girlfriend, is coming to major-league spring training after all.
The team designated him for assignment — removing him from the 40-man roster and eliminating his guaranteed presence at camp — last week to make room for reliever Sam Coonrod. When he cleared waivers, unwanted by any other team, the Mets retained him, assigning him to Triple-A Syracuse.
But on Wednesday, the day of the first official workout for pitchers and catchers, Lee had a locker full of equipment in the Mets’ clubhouse. Lee has not arrived yet; position players don’t have their first formal session until Monday. The Mets did not announce Lee’s invitation to major-league camp as it did the other non-roster players.
A Mets official said the organization will treat Lee as it would any other player with his experience level until told otherwise by MLB. It is normal for the team to bring to major-league camp a player who recently was cut from the 40-man roster — pitcher William Woods is another — though those players aren’t usually being investigated by the league.
“We trust the process, let it run its course,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’ll be here shortly and he’ll prepare to start the season. It’s not something I want to delve into a lot. From a baseball standpoint, we’ll handle it the way we’re told to handle it.”
An MLB official said on Feb. 1 that the league had opened an investigation into Lee stemming from a fight last May with a former girlfriend who was visiting him in Syracuse. She reportedly filed a lawsuit against him early this month. Syracuse police in August obtained a warrant against Lee for criminal obstruction of breath, according to Syracuse.com.
Lee, 24, hit .211 with Syracuse last year. He has played in 13 games in the majors the past two seasons.