Sports

Punch grows more costly

New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez has a torn thumb ligament in his pitching hand sustained during a fight with his girlfriend's father at Citi Field and will need surgery that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

The injury could cost the controversial reliever a lot more.

A source said that the Mets are investigating legal means to void the remainder of his contract.

Rodriguez, who injured himself in a fight with the father of his girlfriend in the family lounge at Citi Field following Wednesday’s game against the Rockies, is due $11.5 million next year and a has a reasonably easy vesting option to earn $17.5 million for 2012.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, discouraged, frustrated,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “When you get this kind of news it’s … we’ve just been through a lot. We seem to continue to have difficulties keeping things from – having these type of injuries or these type of setbacks. Every year it seems like we get a little something here or there.”

Rodriguez was suspended for two days without pay following the fight outside a family room at the ballpark.

The 28-year-old reliever was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14.

When he returned from his suspension, Rodriguez apologized to teammates and fans, then gave up a leadoff double but didn’t allow a run in a 4-0 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday.

Manuel said Rodriguez didn’t indicate he was injured before pitching in Saturday’s game. Manuel said he first learned of the injury on Sunday.

NATIONALS LAND PICK

Top overall draft pick Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals reached agreement on a $9.9 million, five-year contract shortly before the deadline of midnight (EDT).

A year ago, the Nationals agreed to a record-breaking $15.1 million, four-year contract with No. 1 draft choice Stephen Strasburg a little more than a minute before the clock ran out.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Harper is a 17-year-old power-hitting junior college catcher the Nationals plan to convert to an outfielder. He’s the first juco player taken with the first overall selection.

He gets a $6.25 million signing bonus in five equal payments of $1.25 million: 30 days after approval and each July 1 from 2011 through 2014.

Harper receives salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015.

He hit .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBI in his first season at the College of Southern Nevada. He skipped his final two years of high school and got his GED, making him eligible for the 2010 draft.

NO WAY, IT’S JOSE

Jose Canseco signed a contract with an independent minor-league team in south Texas.

The 46-year-old Canseco, a central figure in baseball’s steroid era, was introduced as a member of the Laredo Broncos — one of six teams in the United Baseball League.

Canseco said he’ll play designated hitter, serve as a bench coach and pitch for the team. He’ll play in Laredo’s remaining six home games this season.

“My first step was getting back into the game, in whatever way, shape and form,” Canseco said.

Elsewhere, former Boston Red Sox ledt-handed pitcher Bill Lee has signed with the Brockton Rox of the Can-Am League. The 63-year-old will start the season finale on Sept. 5 against the Worcester Tornadoes.

SHORT HOPS

Joe L. Brown, the general manager whose shrewd trading and expert rebuilding of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system resulted in two World Series championships, died after an extended illness. He was 91. … World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey said Major League Baseball is “misleading” the public by its continued refusal to institute a transparent and rigorous drug testing program. … Former pitcher Shawn Chacon’s grievance against the Astros has been denied. The players’ association filed the grievance after his contract was terminated two years ago, saying the decision was without just cause. The Astros terminated Chacon’s contract without further compensation after he assaulted general manager Ed Wade on June 25, 2008. … Yankees star Alex Rodriguez left the game against Detroit after the fourth inning because of tightness in his left calf. … Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz is on the disabled list for the third time this season because of hamstring issues. … The Rays reinstated first baseman Carlos Peña from the 15-day disabled list and placed outfielder Gabe Kapler on the 15-day DL because of a sprained right ankle.

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