K-Rod Apologizes to Teammates, Fans for Fight

"Ownership and the organization are very disappointed in Francisco's inappropriate behavior," Mets COO says

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez  has apologized to teammates and fans for a physical altercation at Citi Field this week that resulted in his arrest and a team-imposed two-game suspension.

Rodriguez joined the Mets Saturday and recited a contrite statement before New York played the Philadelphia Phillies. He said he has agreed to anger management classes, but couldn't discuss the case.

A team spokesman whisked him away before he could answer any questions.

Rodriguez was arrested and charged with third-degree assault on his girlfriend's father following Wednesday night's loss to Colorado.

He is accused of attacking 53-year-old Carlos Pena outside a family lounge at the ballpark. Pena went to a hospital with a scrape and swelling above his right eyebrow.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Friday he thinks the pitcher's teammates are concerned about him and will embrace him when he returns. The coach says he sent a text message to Rodriguez during his absence, but didn't hear back.

Manuel says he thinks Rodriguez will be able to handle this personal problem and will be effective in the closer role.

The judge issued an order of protection this week against Rodriguez, prohibiting him from seeing his common law wife or father in law.  Both live with Rodgriguez, so the Mets closer will only be able to go home once in coming days and with a police escort.

Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz said Rodriguez was questioned by police, adding "all other questions pertaining to this matter can be addressed to police."

Manuel said Rodriguez's actions were not a distraction to his slumping team, who began the day fourth in the NL East at 56-57.

"We've had a lot of things go on here and there," he said. "We are men and things come our way and we still have a job to do. We have to perform, which right now we're not doing very well at, but we still have to put forth our best effort."

Several security guards, along with some women and children, were seen around the Mets' family lounge near the clubhouse after New York's 6-2 loss to the Rockies. Rodriguez's father-in-law had swelling above his right eyebrow.

Mets shortstop Jose Reyes said his wife and daughter were in the family room when it happened.

"I don't know exactly what happened," Reyes said. "You don't want to see that happen, especially here at the ballpark. I hope he comes clean about what happened because we need him here."

Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur's wife was in the lounge.

"I think it happened more outside, I think, not directly in the family room," he said.

Rodriguez has had previous confrontations with a team official, a coach and an opponent in his 1 1/2 seasons with the Mets, though none reached this level.

"Maybe it's a distraction we need," Francoeur said. "Not to say it's a good thing. But maybe at the end of the day we can turn it into a positive. I know for him, it's between him and his family."

The excitable, 28-year-old pitcher signed a $37 million, three-year contract with the Mets after saving a record 62 games with the Angels in 2008. He is 4-2 with 25 saves and a 2.24 ERA this season.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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