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Hudler Suspended in Wake of Arrest

September 05, 2003|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

The Angels indefinitely suspended television commentator Rex Hudler for violating company policy following his arrest over the weekend at the Kansas City International Airport on marijuana charges.

The Angels said Hudler will be replaced on Channel 9 and Fox Sports Net telecasts by Jose Mota, a member of the club's Spanish radio team.

Hudler, 43, was arrested by airport police Sunday at 5 p.m. CDT at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter after a small amount of marijuana and a marijuana pipe were found in his suitcase, airport spokesman Joe McBride said Thursday.

Hudler was booked at a Kansas City police station and released after posting a $750 bond -- $500 for marijuana possession and $250 for having marijuana paraphernalia.

The police report, obtained by The Times, said airport police were contacted after a security screener found a brown box in his suitcase. The box contained a leafy green substance and a 3-inch pipe with residue inside. The substance tested positive for marijuana.

The report said that Hudler was randomly selected to have his baggage X-rayed.

McBride said Hudler returned to the airport Sunday night to claim his suitcase, then flew home. The Angels had concluded a three-game series in Kansas City earlier in the day.

Hudler said Thursday that his attorney had advised him not to comment at this time.

Hudler on Tuesday hired Kansas City attorney Jim Wyrsch to handle the case. Hudler is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 15.

"I am still looking into this matter and making evaluations where we are in this case," Wyrsch said from his Kansas City office. "We hope to dispose of the matter as soon as possible."

Mota, after learning of his new assignment, said, "Rex is a good friend. I pray for him and his family. I will be filling in on a temporary basis. We'll just take it as it comes.

"I'm very saddened by this, but at the same time I will bring my best out there for baseball fans."

Play-by-play announcer Steve Physioc said he talked with Hudler briefly Wednesday night, after news of the arrest emerged.

"I gave him my support and told him I loved him," Physioc said.

This is the fifth season that Physioc and Hudler have worked together on Angel telecasts. Physioc will be joined by Mota beginning tonight, when Channel 9 televises the Angels' home game against Kansas City.

Hudler spent 21 seasons in professional baseball with 18 teams. He spent three seasons (1994-96) with the Angels.

Hudler and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.

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