NEW YORK (AP) - Suspended Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez was released without bail Thursday 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 Pena, hauling him into a nearby tunnel, hitting him in the face and banging his head against the wall. Pena 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.
Said star center fielder Carlos Beltran: “No one should act like that.”
“He feels sorry about what happened, but it’s too late,” he said. “We all have family issues. But those family issues should be addressed at the house, not near the ballpark, nor at the place where you work.”
Judge Mary O’Donoghue in Queens Criminal Court issued orders of protection for Rodriguez to stay away from his girlfriend _ Daian Pena, the mother of their 1-year-old twins _ and her father.
Police initially identified Carlos Pena 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.
“Mr. Rodriguez is obviously distressed. He’s 28 years old and never had anything like this happen to him before. It’s quite a shock for a young man to be put into handcuffs and taken away and charged,” Booth said.
Booth, who called Rodriguez a “family man,” declined to answer reporters’ questions about what happened.
Daian Pena 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.