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Published: Friday, 7/1/2005

<font face='verdana' size='1' color =#CC0000><b> * New * </b></font>Kenny Rogers draws 20-game suspension

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers was suspended for 20 games and fined $50,000 by Major League Baseball today for an outburst that sent a television cameraman to the hospital and prompted a police investigation.

The players union filed an appeal on behalf of Rogers.

Mr. Rogers behavior was unprofessional, unwarranted and completely unacceptable, commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. Major League Baseball is a social institution and all of us in the game have an important responsibility to act with reason and good judgment.

Rogers shoved two cameramen before Wednesday s game against the Los Angeles Angels in a tirade that included throwing a camera to the ground, kicking it and threatening to break more.

The incident was captured on videotape and led to KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez being treated at a hospital.

While I recognize the relationship between players and members of the media may sometimes be difficult, there is no circumstance in which a player may settle a difference of opinion or a dispute through physical means, Selig said. Media coverage is important to the game and we in baseball are obligated to treat members of the media with respect and civility.

Rodriguez filed an assault report, and Arlington police spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said the case was being investigated as a misdemeanor assault. Rogers hadn t been interviewed by investigators and no charges had been filed Thursday.

Rogers was in Seattle with the Rangers for a weekend series. He was scheduled to pitch Sunday.

In a statement today before the ruling, Rogers attorneys said: Kenny Rogers would like to make a statement. However, in light of the ongoing investigation, it is not advisable for Kenny to comment directly and publicly at this time.

On Kenny s behalf, though, we would like to express to Mr. Rodriguez, Ranger fans, all baseball fans and his teammates that Kenny is truly sorry for the incident that occurred and regrets that it happened.

Rogers (9-3) smiled and joked with teammates, but didn t respond to questions from reporters in the clubhouse after Thursday s 18-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

On June 17, Rogers punched a water cooler in the dugout after being pulled from a game against Washington. The 17-year veteran won his career-best ninth straight decision that night, when he was the AL ERA leader and a potential All-Star starter.

During that outburst, when he also knocked other coolers to the ground, Rogers broke a small bone at the base of the pinkie on his non-throwing hand.

The injury wasn t made public until Rogers missed his start against the Angels on Tuesday, a week after he gave up six runs on 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings at Los Angeles.

Rogers lashed out at the cameramen Wednesday as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching. A day earlier, he had ordered cameras turned off around him in the clubhouse.

Texas manager John Hart said the crux of the matter for Rogers was the perception by some media and fans that he skipped his start against the first-place Angels as a possible ploy in contract negotiations.

While saying Rogers regretted what happened, Hicks and Hart also described the pitcher as being defensive when they spoke to him.

Manager Buck Showalter said he met recently with Rogers for about 40 minutes in his office, and acknowledged there were indications that the pitcher was emotionally troubled by something. Showalter didn t elaborate, refusing to say if there was anything outside of baseball affecting the pitcher.

He s a competitive man ... made a lot of gutsy outings and done a lot of great things for us, Showalter said. Hopefully, everybody will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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