Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vázquez arrested on child solicitation charge

By Alex Dobuzinskis

By Alex Dobuzinskis

Sept 17 (Reuters) - Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Felipe Vázquez was arrested on Tuesday in Pennsylvania on charges of solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to a minor, authorities said.

The All-Star closing pitcher, who lives in Saint Cloud, Florida, was arrested by Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents with assistance from Pennsylvania State Police, the FDLE said in a statement.

Vázquez could not immediately be reached for comment. The identity of his lawyer was not immediately clear.

"We take this matter, and these charges in particular, extremely seriously," Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly said in a statement.

The Major League Baseball commissioner's office is expected to place Vázquez on administrative leave, Coonelly said.

Representatives for Major League Baseball could not immediately be reached for comment.

Florida authorities began investigating the Venezuelan-born Vázquez in August after learning he had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl in Lee County, the FDLE statement said. The girl is now 15, it added.

Investigators found a video that he sent to the girl in July, the statement said. In the video, he performed an unspecified sexual act, it said.

Vázquez, whose nickname is Nightmare, also sent her text messages suggesting they meet for sex once baseball season was over, the statement said.

Vázquez was charged in Florida with one count of computer pornography for the purpose of soliciting a child and one count of providing obscene material.

Vázquez was taken into custody without incident at his home in Pittsburgh. He will appear before a magistrate in Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, for an arraignment hearing, Steve Limani, a spokesman for Pennsylvania State Police, said in an email.

He was held in Allegheny County Jail and was due to be extradited to Florida to be prosecuted, the statement said. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Matthew Lewis)