Baseball

Mets reliever Rodriguez charged with assault

Suspended Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was released without bail Thursday in New York and ordered to stay away from his girlfriend's father, whom he is accused of attacking outside a family lounge at Citi Field.

Rodriguez was arrested and charged with third-degree assault after New York’s 6-2 loss to Colorado on Wednesday night. The team put him on the restricted list without pay for two days, costing him more than $125,000.

The 28-year-old reliever is accused of grabbing 53-year-old Carlos Peña, hauling him into a nearby tunnel, hitting him in the face and banging his head against the wall. Peña went to a hospital with a scrape and swelling above his right eyebrow.

Rodriguez did not enter a plea. Held overnight at Citi Field, he wore jeans, a white dress shirt and sneakers in a Queens courthouse. He did not speak, but nodded as the judge spoke to him.

“Ownership and the organization are very disappointed in Francisco’s inappropriate behavior and we take this matter very seriously,” Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said.

Judge Mary O’Donoghue in Queens Criminal Court issued orders of protection for Rodriguez to stay away from his girlfriend – Daian Peña, the mother of their 1-year-old twins – and her father.

Police initially identified Carlos Peña as Rodriguez’s father-in-law. The pitcher’s lawyer said Rodriguez and the woman are not married.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kane was denied her request for $5,000 bail. Rodriguez was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14.

“Everyone knows who he is, and where he is,” countered defense attorney Christopher Booth, adding that they’d just have to check the Mets bullpen.

Rodriguez is not allowed to go home by himself. He must get a police escort to take him there between now and Saturday so he can gather belongings.

Daian Peña told investigators she was inside the lounge – near the clubhouse and ordinarily a convivial spot where players meet their relatives after games – when Rodriguez appeared and told her to bring her father outside.

She “observed the defendant pin her father against a wall and punch her father multiple times in the face and head,” the criminal complaint said.

Her account was confirmed by the father, who “suffered bruising, swelling, abrasions and redness to the head and pain to his neck,” the complaint said.

Officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association started discussions with lawyers for Major League Baseball. Suspensions without pay in non-drug matters are unusual in baseball.

CHIPPER DONE?

Chipper Jones may have played his last game in the major leagues after tearing up his left knee while fielding a ground ball.

The Atlanta Braves said the 38-year-old third baseman tore his anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery. The estimated recovery time is six months, short enough to be ready for the next opening day – if Jones decides to return in 2011.

RANGERS SALE OK’D

Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the sale of the Texas Rangers to an investment group led by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and sports attorney Chuck Greenberg.

The sale was formally approved at the quarterly meeting of owners in Minneapolis. Ryan and Greenberg beat out Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban with a bid valued at $590 million.

SHORT HOPS

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto has been suspended for seven games for his actions during a brawl with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, and managers Tony La Russa (Cardinals) and Dusty Baker (Reds) were suspended for two games. All three were fined. … A federal appeals court in Houston has refused to reinstate a defamation lawsuit disgraced ex-baseball pitcher Roger Clemens filed against Brian McNamee, a former personal trainer who claims he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. … The Brewers put reliever LaTroy Hawkins on the 15-day disabled list with weakness in his right shoulder. … Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte’s simulated game in Tampa, Fla., was called off when his left flexor tendon stiffened. Pettitte has been on the DL since July 20 with a strained left groin. … The Twins put left-handed reliever Jose Mijares on the 15-day disabled list because of a sprained right knee.

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