By GREGG DRINNAN
Daily News Sports Editor
Tyson Gillies of Kamloops, one of the top outfield prospects in the Philadelphia Phillies’ organization, was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine in Clearwater, Fla., on Friday morning.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office took Gillies into custody 1:48 a.m. ET, at the La Quinta Inn, which is near the Phillies’ spring training complex. He was released on a US$2,000 cash bond at 10:52 a.m.
The charge, a felony, stems from an incident that is alleged to have taken place in Clearwater on June 11.
When contacted by The Daily News on Friday, Gillies responded: “I can’t make a comment about what or how this happened yet . . . sorry.”
Gillies, a 21-year-old outfielder with great speed, was acquired by the Phillies from Seattle in an offseason trade in which veteran left-hander Cliff Lee, a former American League Cy Young-winner, was dealt to the Mariners.
Gillies went to training camp with the Phillies and was assigned to their Class AA affiliate in Reading, Pa. He injured his left hamstring in May and has twice been on the disabled list — from May 12 to June 15 and again since June 25. He has been in Clearwater, the site of Philadelphia’s training camp, where he was rehabbing with the Gulf Coast League (rookie) Phillies.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Cecilia Barreda, the public information officer for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, said the original incident occurred June 11 in Clearwater.
“A patrol officer witnessed Gillies standing on the shoulder of Route 19 near Enterprise Blvd. in Clearwater at 3:24 a.m. Gillies was waving a white shirt at passing motorists. The patrol officer stopped to speak with Gillies and noticed he was intoxicated.
“Gillies told the officer he was waving the shirt so his friends could see him. He told the officer he was trying to find a way back to his hotel down the street after spending several hours at Freaki Tiki, a nearby bar.
“The officer asked Gillies if he had enough money for a taxi to take him back to the hotel. He did not, so the officer offered a courtesy ride for Gillies.
“After the officer dropped Gillies off at the La Quinta, where he was also staying in June, he noticed a bag of white powder on the back-seat floor of the police cruiser. The officer stopped Gillies, took down his information and told him the bag would be sent to a lab for testing and he could be charged in the future.
“The lab results came back positive Thursday and Gillies was taken into custody early Friday morning.”
The Phillies released this statement yesterday:
“The Phillies have confirmed that Tyson Gillies was charged today on a drug possession charge arising out of an incident that was alleged to have occurred in June. Because this is an open case, we will not comment further at this time.”
Gillies, who is profoundly deaf and wears hearing aids in both ears, hit .229 with two home runs and six RBI in 26 games with Reading. He hadn’t played since June 18 when he suited up for the GCL team on Aug. 13. He ended up getting into three games with Clearwater before the hamstring problem flared up again.
He told The Daily News on Tuesday night that his “main concern was for next season” and that he might have to “shut it down for the rest of the season.” Gillies also said he might have to travel to Birmingham, Ala., to see Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedist reknowned for his work with athletes.