Drake Britton charged with DUI

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Drake Britton, a 23-year-old in his first big-league camp, was arrested on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence and property damage, according to the Lee County Sheriff's office.

The arrest occurred at 4:42 a.m. Saturday, on Ben Hill Griffin Parkway in Estero, which is adjacent to Fort Myers. According to the arrest report, Britton, who was driving a 2008 black Chevrolet Silverado (a pickup truck), was paced at a maximum speed of 111 mph in a 45 mph zone. With a police car in pursuit, Britton's truck swerved in between other moving vehicles and jumped over a curb, continuing down a small decline and knocking down a barbed-wire fence, according to the police report. Britton then allegedly continued down a dirt road for a quarter of a mile and attempted to pull into a wooded area before coming to a stop. When the officer approached and asked for his license, Britton first handed him his debit card.

According to the arresting officer, Britton's breath smelled of alcohol and he had slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes. Britton refused a breath test, but the officer said he admitted he had been drinking. He was taken to Lee County Jail.

"This is a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously, and it is being addressed," read a statement released by the team Tuesday afternoon.

Later, manager John Farrell added: "We take every situation like that seriously. In this case with Drake, it's still being addressed. We're still gathering information and the facts of what transpired. Fortunately in this case, there was no one injured. But the bottom line is, it's a very serious issue with us."

It is the team's second DUI incident in the past two years. Pitcher Bobby Jenks was arrested last spring. Asked whether the team needs to do anything specific to avoid these situations, Farrell said, "It's part of every player in our system's ongoing education. There are things that are talked about from the day they come in and sign their first pro contract to every year we come into spring training. These types of situations are addressed prior to camp getting fully underway. Like I said, it's something we take seriously."

Farrell said that Britton is working out on the minor-league side.

Britton originally had been scheduled to pitch Sunday behind Ryan Dempster, but was scratched from that appearance and on Monday was optioned to Double-A Portland.

Manager John Farrell had said Sunday that he didn't expect the team to make any cuts until midweek, but Britton was one of three players sent out Monday, along with utility player Justin Henry and shortstop Deven Marrero.

Britton finished last season with Double-A Portland, where he was 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 76 in 84 2/3 innings.