Blue Jays prospect Kacy Clemens and a fellow minor-leaguer have filed a lawsuit against a bar in Houston after they claim they were severely beaten by a bouncer on New Year’s Eve.
Clemens, son of former Blue Jays pitcher Roger Clemens, suffered bruising and swelling while his friend, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Conner Capel, suffered a fractured skull after allegedly being hit on the head with a flashlight during an incident at the Concrete Cowboy.
The lawsuit, filed in Harris County, Texas, seeks compensation between $200,000 and $1 million US from 34th S&S, LLC, the bar’s parent company, citing potential emotional and mental anguish as well as personal disfigurement.
Nicholas Estrada-Johnson, a bouncer at the Concrete Cowboy named in the lawsuit, was arrested by Houston police and charged with assault on the night of the incident.
A statement of defence has not yet been filed.
Randy Sorells, attorney with the law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz based in Houston, says Clemens and Capel are recovering from their injuries and will report to spring training in February.
“(Capel) is a professional athlete so he went through the protocol and procedures to get back on the field, but he will have to see a neurologist once a year for the next five years, to be tested and make sure everything is alright,” Sorells said Thursday.
“The other bruises and injuries are healing. Yes, they’ll be (back at spring training), they both will be back …”
Sorrels, though, said the damage to Clemens’ throwing arm remains a concern.
“It’s difficult to tell what is going on just yet … it was very swollen,” Sorrels said. “Baseball players rely on and worry about velocity and accuracy and Kacy has not tested that yet.”
According to the lawsuit, the two players entered the Concrete Cowboy and as they approached the bar they were asked to move to another location by a bouncer. They complied, “but apparently not to the liking of the Concrete Cowboy bouncer.”
The situation quickly escalated, without provocation, the lawsuit claims, to the point where other bouncers and staff joined the altercation. It also states that neither Clemens nor Capel had purchased or consumed alcohol while at the establishment, and that police called to the scene found no evidence either person was intoxicated.
Another patron at the bar on New Year’s Eve was also hospitalized after an incident with bouncers, according to the lawsuit, which also cites several other online posts describing incidents with bouncers at the bar, including one patron who may need plastic surgery to correct damage to area around his eyes.
“The bar was overcrowded (on the night of the incident),” Sorrels alleged in an interview with the Star, adding that officials with the Concrete Cowboy maintained there was no video footage of the incident.
None of the allegations in the claim have been proven in court. A message left on the voicemail at Concrete Cowboy requesting comment wasn’t immediately returned.
The lawsuit states the defendants have 50 days from Wednesday to provide a statement of defence and other requested information, including any security video of the altercation.
Clemens, whose father won back-to-back Cy Young Awards while with the Blue Jays in 1997-98, is the second youngest of four boys, all of whom have been drafted by major-league teams.
The first baseman was selected by Toronto in the eighth round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Texas at Austin and won a title with Class-A Vancouver that year. He then split 2018 between Class-A Lansing and High-A Dunedin, hitting a combined .231 with 12 homers and 65 RBI. He’s ranked outside of MLB’s top-30 prospects in the Blue Jays’ system.
Capel, 21, whose father, Mike, pitched for Houston, Chicago (NL), and Milwaukee in the majors, also advanced through two levels of A-ball (Lynchburg and Palm Beach) for the Cardinals, batting .257 with seven homers and 63 RBI.
Sorrels added both fathers went to the bar after learning of the incident.
“I think when people see this sort of thing, the first thing they think is that the boys were drunk, but they were not,” Sorrels said. “Roger (Clemens) and Mike (Capel) are both outstanding members of the community here.”
“These are two families that do not need the money … this isn’t about the money, it’s about the principle,” Sorrels added.
Jan. 31, 2019 — This story has been updated from a previously published version to delete an incorrectly identified photo of Kacy Clemens.
Mark Zwolinski is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @markzwol