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Phillies player fights with Rays fan

| Sunday, June 28, 2009

TORONTO — The Philadelphia Phillies confirmed Saturday that one of their players was involved in a confrontation with a fan following Thursday's game at the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Phillies did not identify the player in their statement. The Rays also confirmed the incident but did not release details.

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported on its Web site that Phillies reliever J.C. Romero grabbed and shoved Robert Eaton, 25, of New Port Richey, Fla., after the fan made two comments about steroids.

Romero was suspended for the first 50 games of the season after testing positive for androstenedione, a substance that Mark McGwire used in the 1990s that was later banned by baseball. Romero, who earned two wins in Philadelphia's World Series victory over Tampa Bay last year, has sued the manufacturer of an over-the-counter supplement that he said led to his positive test.

Eaton told the newspaper he called out to Romero after a couple of Phillies brushed off his requests for autographs, asking the left-hander to get him some steroids. After Romero told him to shut up and that he didn't know what he was talking about, Eaton said he replied that Romero was the one who'd been suspended recently.

"He reared back and kinda grazed my chin and grabbed me by the neck and threw me back," Eaton told the newspaper. "I was in shock."

Romero declined comment when approached by The Associated Press after Philadelphia's 10-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday.

"We're disappointed to learn about the alleged incident with a Rays fan and one of our players following Thursday night's game at Tropicana Field," the Phillies said in a statement. "We are in the process of gathering all of the details surrounding the situation. Until such information is provided, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time."

A St. Petersburg Police Department supervisor confirmed to AP that there was a battery allegation at Tropicana Field on Thursday, but wouldn't identify who was involved. A message was left seeking comment from James Magazine, Eaton's lawyer.

Man partially paralyzed after Angel Stadium fight

One of two brothers accused of assaulting an off-duty Anaheim, Calif., police officer outside Angel Stadium has been partially paralyzed after the officer shot both suspects. Carlos Velazquez, a Camp Pendleton Marine, remained hospitalized, two days after the officer's bullet struck his spinal cord in the stadium parking lot after the Angels game. The Marine and his brother, Jose Velazquez of Ontario, are accused of hitting the officer with a beer bottle and choking him as he was leaving with his family. Jose Velazquez was shot in the arm, released from a hospital and booked on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon. He has posted bail.

Bradley back in Cubs' lineup

Milton Bradley was in the Chicago Cubs' lineup, a day after he was sent home by manager Lou Piniella following an angry outburst in the dugout.

"I apologized for the last comment I made, told him he knows in the context I meant it," Piniella said. "But I also told him that just can't continue, to have shenanigans that we've put up with. I told him he's going to hurt somebody, he's going to hurt himself."

Piniella ordered the mercurial slugger to go home Friday afternoon after Bradley threw his helmet and went after a water cooler following a fly out in the top of the sixth inning of the Cubs game against the crosstown rival White Sox.

"He didn't really talk to me about it, he just kind of yelled at me in the dugout and told me to get out of there," Bradley said Saturday before he talked with Piniella. "So I left. Then he continued to yell at me some more. I've got to take that."

Bradley confirmed a report in the Chicago Sun-Times describing the expletive Piniella used.

"Yeah, that's exactly what he said," Bradley said. "But I'm not going to get into it."

Bradley has struggled on the field, batting .237 with five 5 homers and 16 RBIs. Injuries have also limited his first season with the Cubs after signing a three-year, $30 million deal. He said his relationship with Piniella will be OK and there was no permanent damage from their exchange.

"No, man, I don't have a problem with Lou at all," said Bradley, who has a history of emotional meltdowns and confrontations while playing for seven different teams.

"Initially I was just a little shocked at how everything happened suddenly. But it's something I have to deal with."

Jeter, Damon sidelined by flu

New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter and left fielder Johnny Damon were out of the starting lineup on Saturday against the New York Mets Mets because of flu.

Jeter originally was in the starting lineup for Friday night's Subway Series, then was scratched and missed the game — on his 35th birthday. He and Damon were not in the posted lineup for Saturday night's game, and manager Joe Girardi said they were the latest Yankees to get sick, following Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera.

"That's on him, man. I told him I could play. That's all his decision," Jeter said.

Jeter sounded congested, and said he had a headache and a cough, but no longer was feverish. Girardi said a team physician recommended that Jeter not start yesterday. Before this year, Jeter had appeared in every Subway Series game.

"I know he really wants to play today and he's not happy about being out of the lineup," Girardi said. "He was really, really sick last night, and Johnny was up all night coughing, and he's got the start of it. Had a little fever when he came in."

Astros demote Backe

The Houston Astros designated right-hander Brandon Backe for assignment to open a roster spot for righty Felipe Paulino, activated from the disabled list for his start on Saturday. Backe missed most of spring training and the first month of the season with a rib cage injury, and has appeared in just five games with one start this season. The eight-year veteran has spent the last six seasons in Houston where he won a career-best 10 games in 2005. The Astros have 10 days to trade him, waive him or send him outright to the minors.

Byrnes' hand repaired

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand, a day after being hit by a pitch from Texas right-hander Scott Feldman. Byrnes had a screw and plate placed in his fifth left metacarpal in an operation performed by Phoenix hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan. Byrnes is expected to miss 4-8 weeks.

Sadowski to debut for Giants

Right-hander Ryan Sadowski will make his debut today for San Francisco, when he starts against the Milwaukee Brewers. Giants manager Bruce Bochy ended speculation that right-hander Tim Lincecum would make the start because the club had moved its fifth starter, Jonathan Sanchez, to the bullpen. Bochy said the Giants would purchase the contract of Sadowski, a 26-year-old, who is 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Fresno. Rich Aurilia, a reserve infielder, will be placed on the bereavement list before today's game following the death of his father last week.

Uehara headed to DL

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Koji Uehara was poised for another stint on the disabled list, this time with an elbow strain. The Japanese right-hander was scratched from his scheduled start against Washington today and was expected to be replaced by rookie Dave Hernandez, who will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. Uehara, the first Japanese-born player in Orioles history, is 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA. He is winless since April 13 and has pitched seven innings only once.

Harrison out again

Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison will be placed on the disabled list with biceps inflammation. Harrison, who had an MRI that showed no structural damage, said he has also been experiencing numbness in his left hand and is scheduled to visit a neurologist to rule out nerve damage. Right-hander Tommy Hunter will be called up from to start in Harrison's place tonight against San Diego.

Indians moves

Reliever Jose Veras was added to the Cleveland Indians' roster and reliever Jensen Lewis was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

Veras, acquired Wednesday from the New York Yankees for cash, went 3-1 with a 5.96 ERA in 25 appearances for New York before he was designated for assignment on June 16. He did not allow a run in nine of his last 12 appearances with the Yankees. Lewis ended 2008 as the team's closer, converting all 13 of his save opportunities in August and September. But he is 2-3 with a 5.03 ERA this season, allowing nine home runs in 39.1 innings.

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