Luke Heimlich signs in China, but league may not allow it

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Former Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich, who plead guilty to child molestation in 2012, didn’t hear his name called in back-to-back Major League Baseball Drafts. Now it appears Heimlich may — or reportedly may not — get a chance to play professional baseball. 

On Tuesday, the Lamigo Monkeys, a member of the Chinese Professional Baseball League, announced that they had signed Heimlich, adding that he is currently in Taiwan and will start conditioning with the team soon. 

But that reportedly won’t happen. According to CPBL STATS, the league decided not to approve Heimlich’s deal with the Monkeys. The site cited the league’s “zero-tolerance policy on players with criminal history.” 

Lamigo has yet to announce anything further than their agreement with Heimlich. 

Heimlich’s sex offender history came to light in 2017 in an Oregonian story before the start of the College World Series. Court Documents show Heimlich plead guilty to one county of first-degree child molestation. The victim was his niece, who was six-years-old at the time. Heimlich was forced to register as a sex offender.

After the report, Heimlich left the Beavers, but he returned in 2018 to the support of his teammates and coaches, according to Oregon State manager Pat Casey. The Beavers ultimately won the College World Series this past season. Heimlich was a key part of the championship run, going 16-3 with a 2.92 ERA. 

In the last year, starting shortly before the 2018 Draft, Heimlich has publicly denied that he did anything wrong, telling the New York Times that he, at the age of 15, submitted a guilty plea to “quickly dispense with the case and for the sake of family relations.” The mother of the victim told The Times there is no way Heimlich didn’t do it. 

After the draft, the Kansas City Royals expressed interest in Heimlich, an idea that was met with plenty of pushback. Royals general manager Dayton Moore told The Kansas City Star that the organization “has constantly given players second and third chances.”

The team passed on signing him. 

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