Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
In the midst of an unprecedented stretch that includes seven consecutive National League West titles, the Los Angeles Dodgers have had their fair share of success stories over the years.
One in particular that stands out was the unexpected rise of Andrew Toles to the Majors during the 2016 season. A former third-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays, he reunited with Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman by signing a Minor League contract in 2015.
Toles went on to make his MLB debut in 2016 and appear in 96 games over three seasons, but was an unexpected absence when the club reported to Spring Training last year. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said at the time it was so Toles could spend time with his family.
He was subsequently placed on the restricted list, removed from the 40-man roster and did not play at any level during the 2019 campaign. Last week, a heartbreaking story emerged that offered some clarity on Toles’ situation over the past year-and-a-half.
The 28-year-old has been arrested on multiple occasions — including recently in Florida — and is considered homeless. He has also been in and out of multiple mental health hospitals, often turning down his family’s efforts to get help.
A distraught Friedman, who has known Toles for nearly a decade, wishes he could do more to assist with rehabilitation efforts, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
“It’s heartbreaking, literally heartbreaking,” says Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations, who drafted Toles while with the Rays, and visited with him at the facility. “I have a long history with Andrew, and I just wish there was something more we could do to help.”
The Dodgers have supported Toles from the start, but it will ultimately be up to him to take the necessary steps to turn his life around. He was released from jail last week on a $500 bond, but his family is now concerned as to where he will wind up next.
As the Dodgers report to Dodger Stadium for Spring Training 2.0, some players have reached out to Toles’ family to see if there’s anything they can do to help.
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