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Minor league pitcher ordered held on assault charge

DAYTON, Ohio -- A minor league pitcher accused of throwing a
ball that hit a fan in the forehead during a bench-clearing brawl
was charged with felonious assault, ordered held on $50,000 bond
and directed to surrender his passport.

Peoria Chiefs pitcher Julio Castillo was arrested Thursday
following a fight between the Class-A Chiefs and Dayton Dragons.
Umpires ejected 15 players and the teams' managers after the
10-minute brawl ended.

Video from the game shows the 21-year-old Castillo angrily
throwing a ball, but doesn't show where it landed.

Police identified the fan as Chris McCarthy, 44, of Middletown,
and said he was hit in the forehead, the Dayton Daily News
reported. Fans told police that McCarthy was knocked senseless and
became incoherent.

The fan was treated and released at
Miami Valley Hospital on Thursday night, said hospital spokeswoman
Nancy Thickel. She didn't know the extent of the fan's injuries.

Castillo was arraigned by video from the Montgomery County jail
on Friday and ordered held on bond. Dayton Municipal Judge Carl
Henderson also required Castillo, who is from the Dominican
Republic, to give up his passport.

"This charge is a result of outlandish and inexcusable conduct
by a professional baseball player," Montgomery County Prosecutor
Mathias Heck Jr. said in a statement.

If convicted, Castillo would face up to eight years in prison
and a $15,000 fine.

Dressed in jail blues, he stood with his arms folded behind his
back and showed little emotion. He was flanked by his attorney and
an interpreter. Castillo said he has been in the United States for
a month and has been living with teammates in Peoria.

Defense attorney Kevin Braig had asked Castillo's release.

"He is employed gainfully by the Peoria Chiefs," Braig told
the judge. "He has no history of prior offenses. I've been in
contact with the club. This matter is being taken serious."

A message seeking comment was left with Braig.

Dragons spokesman Tom Nichols said no mention of the brawl would
be made during Friday's game with Peoria, the final of a three-game
series. Pregame warmups went without incident, with the players
running, stretching and throwing on opposite sides of the outfield.

"I think what you're going to find is even a more controlled
atmosphere tonight," said Jonathan Maurer, who brought his wife
and their three children - ages 9, 8 and 5 - to Friday's game.

The first few innings went smoothly, with no sign of any
animosity between the teams. No batters were hit and there were few
inside pitches.

The Dragons are affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds, while the
Chiefs are affiliated with the Chicago Cubs.

Three Peoria batters were hit in Wednesday's game between the
clubs. After a Peoria player was hit in the top of the first on
Thursday, Castillo hit two batters in the bottom half - one in the
head. The second batter hit by Castillo, Angel Cabrerra, made an
aggressive slide into second to break up a double play.

Castillo followed that by throwing his next pitch up-and-in,
prompting Dayton manager Donnie Scott to complain to the home plate
umpire. Interim Peoria manager Carmelo Martinez -- filling in for
Ryne Sandberg -- came onto the field to join the discussion.

The two managers began arguing, and when Martinez pushed Scott,
the benches emptied.

The teams protested the ejections by phone to Midwest League
president George Spelius, saying they didn't want pitchers playing
in the outfield to finish the game. After an hour delay, the
players who were ejected were allowed to come back and the game
resumed. Dayton won 6-5.

"I wanted the game to continue, really for the fans," Spelius
said Friday. He said he warned both managers that there would be
severe consequences for any further incidents in Thursday's game.

Spelius said Friday that he spoke to the umpires about the
brawl. He planned to read a report, review video footage and talk
to team officials before imposing sanctions that could include
fines and suspensions.

"He'll hand down the appropriate punishments he deems
necessary," Chiefs spokesman Nathan Baliva said.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty witnessed the fight from the
stands. Cincinnati spokesmen Rob Butcher said Friday neither the
Reds nor the Dragons would comment.

Sandberg was in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the weekend's Hall of
Fame induction ceremonies.

Aaron Brown, a fan who was standing in the lower section of the
stadium near home plate, said the fight was sad for baseball.
Players ran out of the dugout, and "all hell broke loose," he
said.

"You see paramedics running into the stands. Just when you
think it ends, there is another group trying to fight. I was really
surprised they continued the game," said the 28-year-old from
Columbus. "I've never seen anything like it before."