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Nelson and Garcia to Stay on Roster

October 14, 2003|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON — Even as outfielder Karim Garcia and reliever Jeff Nelson face possible charges of assault and battery for their roles in a bullpen fight Saturday, New York Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman said he would not remove the players from a potential World Series roster because of the melee and indicated the legal disposition of the matter would come long after the Series.

"That's my understanding of how the process would work," Cashman said Monday. "It wouldn't be a concern."

Cashman said he did not believe possible criminal charges would affect the players' ability to perform.

While no charges have been filed and police investigators have not contacted the players, Cashman said each had retained legal representation.

According to the police report, witness accounts indicated the players initiated an "unprovoked attack" on Paul Williams, a Red Sox grounds crew member stationed in the Yankee bullpen. The report also said summonses "for assault and battery" would be sought in district court against Garcia and Nelson. That could happen as soon as today.

Nelson has acknowledged that he challenged Williams to stop cheering for the Red Sox or leave the Yankee bullpen but denied he participated in any attack. Red Sox officials said Williams waved a rally towel and pumped his fist at fans before the skirmish began.

The police report states that officers observed Nelson "pushing/grabbing" Williams and then "punching and flaring his legs" at him after both had fallen to the ground. The report also states that officers saw Garcia leap over the outfield wall and into the bullpen and hit Williams "with his left hand," which is now injured. Garcia has said he acted in fear a fan might have jumped from the bleachers and attacked Nelson.

The report said Williams was treated at a local hospital for "injuries to his head, mouth and body."

Cashman said the Red Sox had offered to remove the groundskeeper responsible for maintaining the mounds in the visiting bullpen. When told Williams would not be working the rest of this series, Cashman said he told the Red Sox they could keep a groundskeeper there.


Pedro Martinez told a few reporters late Sunday that he intended to throw inside but not at the head of Garcia on Saturday, a pitch no Red Sox teammate has defended. Martinez did not comment on the incident Saturday. He has not spoken to the media for most of the season, and neither has Manny Ramirez, who threatened Roger Clemens Saturday.

In an extraordinary admission, Boston Manager Grady Little said some players are fed up with having to discuss the actions of players who refuse to speak for themselves.

"There is a lot of discussion about that in our clubhouse," Little said, "and hopefully in the future we can get that rectified."


Martinez and Garcia each said he would appeal the fine levied against him for improper conduct during Saturday's game. Martinez was fined $50,000 and Garcia $10,000. Ramirez, who was fined $25,000, also is expected to appeal.

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