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Rogers Goes Off on Cameramen

Ranger pitcher, who hasn't talked to reporters since spring training, is involved in two altercations before the game against Angels and could face charges.

June 30, 2005|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Ranger pitcher Kenny Rogers could face criminal charges and a suspension from Major League Baseball after his attack on two cameramen as the team took the field for warmups about 2 1/2 hours before Wednesday night's game against the Angels.

Rogers, criticized in the local media for not pitching this week against the Angels because of a broken bone in his right (non-pitching) hand, first shoved FSN Southwest cameraman David Mammeli, telling him, "I told you to get those cameras out of my face."

The 40-year-old left-hander, who injured his hand punching a water cooler June 17, then approached a second television cameraman -- Larry Rodriguez of KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth -- wrestled his camera off his shoulder and to the ground and then kicked the camera.

Rogers headed toward the field but doubled back to the dugout, walking toward two men who filmed the tirade. He did not make contact with the men but threatened to "break every ... one" of their cameras. Rogers was escorted to the clubhouse by catcher Rod Barajas and about an hour later was sent home by the Rangers.

"Obviously, he has some anger-management issues -- that's probably what makes him so competitive," Ranger owner Tom Hicks said of Rogers, who is 9-3 with a 2.46 earned-run average. "But there's a line, and he clearly crossed it today."

Ranger Manager Buck Showalter did not witness the incident and said he would "deal with it when I get all the facts."

Rodriguez, the KDFW cameraman, tried to hold his camera in the tussle with Rogers before finally letting go so he wouldn't fall to the ground with the heavy equipment.

Rodriguez was seen around the dugout and filmed an interview with Showalter after the incident, but he later complained of neck, back and leg pain and was transported by paramedics out of Ameriquest Field on a stretcher. Rodriguez gave a statement to police.

"I think [Rogers] demonstrated an appalling lack of control," KDFW news director Maria Barrs told Associated Press. "That the team is doing poorly is no excuse for assaulting a guy who is doing his job."

Tensions have been running high for the Rangers, who had lost eight of nine games before Wednesday, and Rogers, in the midst of negotiations with the team for a two-year extension, has been a focal point of controversy.

Rogers has refused to talk to reporters since a report before spring training that he threatened to retire if he wasn't given an extension. Tuesday night, he ordered television cameras turned off around him. Wednesday night, he turned on the cameramen.

"That's not acceptable," Hicks said. "What Kenny did was wrong."

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