Rogers, Rangers await disciplinary action

Friday, July 1, 2005

MLB will decide the consequences for the pitcher's physical confrontation with two cameramen.

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kenny Rogers' immediate future will be decided by Major League Baseball, following the outburst by the Texas Rangers ace that sent a television cameraman to the hospital and prompted a police investigation.

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

The Rangers talked with MLB on Thursday. Because the incident occurred on the field, MLB has jurisdiction. A decision on possible discipline is expected today, Texas owner Tom Hicks said.

"At this point there's nothing the Texas Rangers will or can do," Hicks said. "We will support whatever the commissioner decides."

General manager John Hart said Rogers (9-3) would travel with the team to Seattle, where the left-hander is tentatively scheduled to pitch the series finale Sunday.

Rogers wasn't available for comment. He wasn't seen in the clubhouse before the game or in the dugout during it, but Hart said the 40-year-old left-hander was at the ballpark.

"He made it very clear to me that he did the wrong thing and it was inappropriate," Hart said. "It was out of character, way out of character for Kenny."

KDFW cameraman Larry Rodriguez filed an assault report Wednesday, Arlington police spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said. Detectives were to interview Rogers and Rodriguez on Thursday.

No charges had been filed.

"Although it is very early in the investigation, at this point, it appears we are investigating a misdemeanor assault case," Gilfour said in a statement.

Rogers, who missed his last start after breaking his pinkie during an outburst earlier this month, lashed out at the cameramen as they filmed him walking to the field for pregame stretching. He wasn't scheduled to pitch and was sent home by the club.

"Kenny is having anger issues right now," Hart said after Wednesday's game. "I don't know what's going on inside. We're responding to something that's very unusual."

The Rangers held a clubhouse meeting before the game to address the situation. After the game, a 7-6 victory over the Angels in 11 innings, they lent their support to Rogers.

"It's something we're going to keep in-house," said Gary Matthews Jr., who hit a two-run homer for the Rangers. "It's going to be between Kenny and the front office."

Hart said he had talked to Rogers and "Kenny obviously realizes his actions were incorrect."

"His comment to me was, 'I didn't handle this right. I'm frustrated. My integrity and toughness is being called into question,"' Hart said.

The 40-year-old left-hander first shoved Fox Sports Net Southwest photographer David Mammeli, telling him: "I told you to get those cameras out of my face."

Rogers then approached a second cameraman. He wrestled the camera from Rodriguez, threw it to the ground and kicked it.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound pitcher saw two other cameramen who were recording from the Rangers' dugout and walked toward them. He did not make contact with the men, who were backing away.

"I'll break every ... one of them," Rogers said before he was escorted to the clubhouse by catcher Rod Barajas.

The Rangers sent Rogers home about an hour later.

KDFW news director Maria Barrs said paramedics took Rodriguez to an Arlington hospital.

"He does have quite a bit of pain, in his shoulder and his arm and his leg," Barrs said. Rodriguez was treated and released.

Fox Sports Net Southwest spokesman Ramon Alvarez said Mammeli wasn't injured.

Footage shot by Dallas-Fort Worth station KTVT shows Rogers pushing Rodriguez's camera, which goes over the photographer's head and falls to the ground. As Rodriguez puts the camera back on his shoulder, Rogers approaches again, pushing the lens away and having words with the photographer.

As players begin to intervene, Rogers pulls the camera to the ground and kicks it before walking away.

Rodriguez said that when he picked up the camera the second time, his intentions were to keep getting footage of Rogers.

"I figured since now he vented that he was all good, but the second time was just a little bit too much," he said in an interview on KDFW.

"There's no question he was upset. I don't understand why we were the ... I don't know if we were the stem of the problem or what," he said. "I don't think we did anything wrong."

Texas has been in a recent slump, and had lost eight of nine entering Wednesday's game.

"I think it demonstrated an appalling lack of control," Barrs said. "The team doing poorly is no excuse for assaulting a guy who's just doing his job."

Rogers, whose nine wins lead the team, has refused to talk to reporters all season. He has also boycotted most media since a report before spring training that he threatened to retire if he wasn't given a contract extension.

"Kenny has had a short fuse dealing with the media," Hicks said. "I've heard stories about what may or may not have happened. He has issues. It's directed at the media and I don't know why."

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