SEATTLE -- Kenny Rogers received a stern penalty for his
The Texas pitcher was suspended for 20 games and fined $50,000
by Major League Baseball on Friday for throwing an angry fit that
sent a television cameraman to the hospital and prompted a police
The suspension applies only to regular-season games, and Rogers would be eligible for the All-Star Game if selected.
The players' union filed an appeal on behalf of Rogers, who can
keep pitching until the appeal is heard.
"Mr. Rogers' behavior was unprofessional, unwarranted and
completely unacceptable," commissioner Bud Selig said in a
statement. "Major League Baseball is a social institution and all
of us in the game have an important responsibility to act with
reason and good judgment."
The suspension was among the most severe imposed by the
commissioner's office for on-field conduct in decades -- only the
30-day penalty given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for
pushing umpire Dave Pallone was longer.
Rogers, who is scheduled to pitch Sunday, was in the Rangers'
locker room before Friday night's game against the Seattle
Mariners, but would not comment when asked about the suspension.
"He's not talking," Rangers spokesman Rich Rice said.
Rogers then walked out of the dugout past a group of TV
cameramen without incident, staring straight ahead as he continued
to the Rangers' bullpen in left field.
Rogers was suspended a day after Texas pitcher Frank Francisco
was sentenced to a work program and anger management classes after
pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. Francisco was suspended for
15 games after throwing a chair at an Oakland Athletics fan last
Rangers shortstop Michael Young said, "Any suspension of this
length is definitely going to hurt our club because Kenny is our
best pitcher. We're all going to stick by Kenny."
On June 17, the left-handed Rogers hurt himself, breaking a bone
in his right hand when he punched a water cooler and threw around
other coolers in the Texas dugout.
"We hope the suspension is reduced," Rangers manager Buck
Showalter said. "Hopefully, we won't have to deal with it until
after the All-Star break."
"He threw very well and was in decent spirits considering
what's going on," Hershiser said. "He's very quiet right now.
He's just focusing on what he needs to be to be a pitcher."
Before Wednesday night's home game against the Los Angeles
Angels, Rogers shoved two cameramen in a tirade that included
throwing a camera to the ground, kicking it and threatening to
"We've made it clear from the beginning this was an
unacceptable behavior for the club," Rangers general manager John
Hart said. "I know Kenny, as evidenced by his statements, has
expressed remorse. The commissioner has spoken and we're going to
move forward from there."
The incident was captured on videotape and led to KDFW cameraman
Larry Rodriguez being treated at a hospital.
"While I recognize the relationship between players and members
of the media may sometimes be difficult, there is no circumstance
in which a player may settle a difference of opinion or a dispute
through physical means," Selig said. "Media coverage is important
to the game and we in baseball are obligated to treat members of
the media with respect and civility."
Rodriguez filed an assault report, and Arlington police
spokeswoman Christy Gilfour said the case was being investigated as
a misdemeanor assault. Rogers hadn't been interviewed by
investigators and no charges had been filed Thursday.
In a statement Friday before the ruling, Rogers' attorneys said:
"Kenny Rogers would like to make a statement. However, in light of
the ongoing investigation, it is not advisable for Kenny to comment
directly and publicly at this time.
"On Kenny's behalf, though, we would like to express to Mr.
Rodriguez, Ranger fans, all baseball fans and his teammates that
Kenny is truly sorry for the incident that occurred and regrets
that it happened."
Said Michael Weiner, the union's general counsel: "I may have
more to say next week but for the time being, I'll just say that
it's been immediately appealed."
"Punishment is supposed to happen one time," Anderson said
before Kansas City played the Angels. "You punish, and you make
the punishment so that no one wants to do that. I think mission
accomplished. That will get everybody's attention."
Two weeks ago, Rogers became angry after being pulled from a
game against Washington. The 17-year veteran won his career-best
ninth straight decision that night, when he was the AL ERA leader
and a potential All-Star starter.
During that outburst, he broke a small bone at the base of the
pinkie on his non-throwing hand.
The injury wasn't made public until Rogers missed his start
against the Angels on Tuesday, a week after he gave up six runs on
10 hits in 3 1/3 innings at Los Angeles.
Rogers lashed out at the cameramen Wednesday as they filmed him
walking to the field for pregame stretching. A day earlier, he had
ordered cameras turned off around him in the clubhouse.
Hart said "the crux of the matter" for Rogers was the
perception by some media and fans that he skipped his start against
the first-place Angels as a possible ploy in contract negotiations.
While saying Rogers regretted what happened, Rangers owner Tom
Hicks and Hart also described the pitcher as being "defensive"
when they spoke to him.
Rogers was drafted by the Rangers in 1982, and has spent 12 of
his 17 major league seasons with the team for which he threw a
perfect game in 1994. He became the first pitcher with three stints
in Texas when he signed a $6 million, two-year contract before last
The pitcher met with Hicks before spring training and asked
about a contract extension. Rogers denied a report that he
threatened to retire and has since quit talking to most media.
Hart said there had been recent talks with Rogers' agent, Scott
Boras, but would be no more until after the season.