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Rogers reinstated, set to pitch tonight
NEW YORK -- Kenny Rogers was reinstated Tuesday when an arbitrator ruled that commissioner Bud Selig went too far by suspending the Texas pitcher for 20 games and fining him $50,000 for shoving two cameramen.
Rogers will have missed 13 games by the time his reinstatement becomes effective today, when he's scheduled to start against Boston at Fenway Park.
Also, Rogers' fine will be converted to a charitable contribution. The ruling, by arbitrator Shyam Das, followed a hearing Monday in Chicago.
"We always thought it was out of line," players' union head Donald Fehr said. "Were we surprised? No."
Said Selig: "I strongly disagree with arbitrator Das' decision today. It sends the wrong message to every one of our constituents: the fans, the media, and our players."
"There is a standard of behavior that is expected of our players, which was breached in this case. The arbitrator's decision diminishes that standard and is contrary to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. In my opinion, the decision is seriously ill-conceived," he said in a statement.
Das' decision closes the case.
"In a lot of our minds, hopefully this is the last piece of putting it behind us," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
"I talked to Kenny. He's in an airport in Chicago, working his way back here," Showalter added. "We've been through this situation with Kenny this year. It's something that we've dealt with and I think he's dealt with it real well, all things considered, and it's time to move on and get the focus back on getting people out."
Rogers was penalized for a videotaped tirade June 29 when he came onto the field in Texas for pregame stretching and threw a camera to the ground, kicked it and threatened to do more damage. One of the cameramen he shoved, Larry Rodriguez of KDFW-TV, was treated at a hospital.
"Whatever time that Kenny served, I hope that he's been able to address whatever issues he had with whomever he had, and use the time productively," Rodriguez said. "I am surprised that the arbitrator overruled the commissioner's decision."
KDFW news director Maria Barrs said Rodriguez was still going through medical treatment and had yet to resume his duties with the station.
Rogers turned himself in to police in Arlington, Texas, on misdemeanor assault charges and posted a $1,500 bond. He also apologized to the cameramen and fans for his behavior.
As part of the ruling, Das said the games Rogers missed could be taken into account if the pitcher falls short of any incentive clauses in his contract.
Union general counsel Michael Weiner said Das made an "expedited ruling" because Rogers' suspension was in effect. The union originally appealed the penalty to Selig, then filed a grievance and argued that the commissioner broke precedent.
In recent times, baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson imposed penalties and another official in the commissioner's office heard the appeals. In Rogers' case, Selig both issued the penalty and also heard the appeal.
Rogers' suspension was among the harshest penalties imposed by the commissioner's office for on-field conduct. Only the 30-day penalty given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for pushing umpire Dave Pallone was longer.
Rogers is 11-4 with a 2.77 ERA for the Rangers, who are in the AL wild card race. He relieved in the All-Star game on July 12 at Comerica Park and was booed by fans in Detroit.
Fox Sports Net Southwest cameraman David Mammeli also was shoved by Rogers, but was not injured. "We choose not to comment at this time," station spokeswoman Kristi Roberts said.
"He did what he did. There are consequences, he paid his price. Now he's ready to get back," Cincinnati first baseman Sean Casey said after the Reds' 8-3 win over Chicago on Tuesday.
"A suspension like that when you have 20 games, it's good to have somebody come in and say if that's fair or not," he said.