Francisco suspended for remainder of season
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Frank Francisco, one of three Texas Rangers relievers suspended for their part in a bullpen brawl with fans in Oakland earlier this week, began serving his season-ending ban on Saturday.
Francisco was suspended by the commissioner's office Friday for the rest of the season -- 16 games -- for throwing a chair that struck a woman and broke her nose during Monday's game.
"This was Frankie's desire, after looking at all the options that presented themselves," general manager John Hart said. "Frankie wanted to do what was in the bests interests of the club, and for himself. I think that MLB and the union worked to try to make this as feasible as can be."
Francisco's suspension is still under appeal, but the rookie decided to waive his right to continue playing while he's awaiting the appeal hearing that will take place next Friday before Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer. Because he pitched Friday night, his suspension would carry over to opening day of next season if upheld.
"Frankie's not admitting anything -- he still has the opportunity for the appeal -- but if it doesn't go favorably, he will have been able to serve `X' number of days and reduce the amount of time that would carry over," Hart said.
The suspension is among the harshest assessed by the commissioner's office for on-field conduct in recent decades, trailing only the 30-day suspension given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for pushing umpire Dave Pallone.
Pitcher Doug Brocail was suspended for seven games, and reliever Carlos Almanzar and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo were each suspended for five games -- and all were fined. Brocail and Almanzar also appealed, and are eligible to pitch.
Jennifer Bueno, whose nose was broken, said Wednesday she plans to seek compensation for her injuries once prosecutors and baseball officials complete their investigation. Hart said the club will fully cooperate with prosecutors, if and when they are contacted.
"Frankie Francisco is an outstanding young man and a great kid," Hart said. "I think that the quicker that all of this can put behind us and him, the better it's going to be. And this is a part of it. But from a competitive standpoint, it's a challenge."
Francisco, 25, was the AL rookie of the month for August, when he was 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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