- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 22, 2006

Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden expressed remorse yesterday for his DUI arrest and the embarrassment it has caused the organization but vehemently denied allegations of domestic violence issued against his fiancee.

“I feel really bad about the incident and the embarrassment I caused my family, my friends, the Washington Nationals, Major League Baseball, all of our fans,” Bowden said in his first public comments since his arrest early Monday. “It’s been a tough week, and it’s unfortunate.”

Speaking in the Nationals dugout before last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Bowden managed to make light of the situation, joking about his hours spent in a Miami Beach, Fla., jail while the club was preparing to open a three-game series in Philadelphia the following day.

“If you have to spend a day in jail, at least it’s an off-day, so you don’t miss a game,” he said. “There were some pretty good athletes in there. So if they get out, we might be able to work a couple out.”

According to police reports, Bowden’s rental car was pulled over at 2:20 a.m. Monday after he ran a stop sign. Officers detected the smell of alcohol in the car and described Bowden, 44, as having “bloodshot eyes” and “slurred speech.” He failed a field sobriety test, refused to take a breath-alcohol test and was arrested and charged with DUI.

Bowden, who has said he will plead not guilty to the drunken driving charge, said a court date has not been set for his case. He also strongly denied that he and his fiancee, Joy Browning, were involved in a domestic dispute in the minutes leading up to his arrest.

According to police, Bowden had scratches on his left cheek and a cut near his right ear upon being pulled over. When police tried to arrest Browning, 36, for domestic violence, she reportedly refused to exit the car and struck one of the officers while trying to retrieve her cell phone.

She now faces a May 8 court date on charges of resisting arrest, including one felony.

“There was no incident at all,” Bowden said. “Zero, zero, zero, zero. The attorney spoke on our behalf. We’ve denied the allegations. Never happened. Zero, zero. Where that comes from, I can’t answer that.”

The incident came at a particularly difficult time for Bowden, who does not know if the Nationals’ eventual new owners will be retaining him. He acknowledged as much yesterday.

“It’s unfortunate it happened, period,” he said. “There’s no appropriate time for an incident of that nature to occur.”

The incident forced Bowden to cut short a planned, pre-draft scouting trip in Florida. He was back in his RFK Stadium office Wednesday, where he followed the rest of the Nationals’ 4-2 road trip.

“We seem to be coming together as a team,” Bowden said. “We got off to a rough start, our schedule was a little difficult. But to win four out of six on that trip was important, coming together of this club.”

Note — Right-hander Ryan Drese rejoined the Nationals yesterday, relieved his elbow injury will not require surgery but dismayed to learn he’ll still be out four to six weeks. An MRI on Drese’s elbow revealed he has a strained flexor tendon, not the sprained ulnar collateral ligament that would have required “Tommy John” surgery.

“I thought I popped my ligament, because it felt really bad and hurt in the wrong place,” said Drese, who immediately will begin a rehabilitation program. “But luckily it wasn’t the case. I’m going to work hard and get back on the field.”

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