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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2007

Tigers pitcher pleads not guilty to assault

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
An altercation about music being played before a game in the Toledo Mud Hens  clubhouse at Fifth Third Field resulted in a non-guilty plea of assault on a teammate by Detroit Tiger pitcher Roman Colon, right with attorney Spiro Cocoves, in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday. An altercation about music being played before a game in the Toledo Mud Hens clubhouse at Fifth Third Field resulted in a non-guilty plea of assault on a teammate by Detroit Tiger pitcher Roman Colon, right with attorney Spiro Cocoves, in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday.
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Detroit Tigers pitcher Roman Colon was led from a Lucas County Common Pleas courtroom in handcuffs yesterday after he pleaded not guilty to charges that he assaulted a teammate.

Mr. Colon, 27, is charged with one count of felonious assault for an incident last month in which he punched a Toledo Mud Hens player while playing for the team.

He was arrested June 30 in Erie, Pa., where he had been sent to play at the Tigers Double-A affiliate team, and posted a $50,000 bond three days later.

Mr. Colon, for the most part, stood silently by his attorney, Spiros Cocoves, yesterday, only answering a few brief questions from Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda. Deputies then transported him to the Lucas County jail, where he was fingerprinted and photographed.

Mr. Cocoves said his client was released on bond soon after he was booked. He declined to comment on the case, but said that Mr. Colon could continue to play baseball out of state and that his bond only requires that he return to court for an Aug. 20 hearing.

Mr. Colon is accused of punching pitcher Jason Karnuth, who apparently was trying to break up an argument on June 12 between Mr. Colon and other players in the Mud Hens clubhouse at Fifth Third Field.

Mr. Karnuth, 31, is recovering from surgery to repair the multiple facial fractures he suffered in the altercation.

The argument that led to the incident reportedly stemmed from a dispute over loud music on Mr. Colon s iPod before the Mud Hens June 12 game.

In response to the altercation, Tigers officials enacted a new policy regarding music in the clubhouses of the team s minor-league affiliates.

All Tigers minor leaguers must wear headsets if they want to listen to music before or after a game, a rule that was only in effect for the major-league team before the Mud Hens clubhouse incident. Mr. Colon had been with the Mud Hens rehabbing from neck surgery.

For his role in the incident, he was suspended from the Tigers organization for seven days and then sent to Erie to finish his rehab assignment with the SeaWolves.

A right-hand pitcher for the Tigers, Mr. Colon faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.



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