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Monday, July 22
Updated: July 23, 7:32 AM ET
Erickson charged with assault

Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson was charged Monday with assaulting his girlfriend after she confronted him about whether he was being faithful to her, police said.

Erickson, 34, and Lisa Ortiz had a "heated argument'' that ended with Erickson throwing her to the floor of an elevator in the building where they live, according to a police report.

The right-handed pitcher, who played collegiately at the University of Arizona, told police Ortiz bit him on his right arm, causing a bruise and swelling. Police also said Erickson's right foot was bleeding and officers found blood stains leading from the couple's condominium to the elevator.

Erickson and Ortiz told police they did not need medical attention.

"It's nothing. It's just a bad break,'' Erickson told reporters before Monday's game at Camden Yards.

"Nothing happened. It was pretty much a situation where they had to do something and it just got blown out of proportion,'' said Erickson, who did not have any visible injuries. "No harm done.''

The pitcher added that "everything will be dropped.'' But a city prosecutor said the state's attorney's office will decide whether to pursue the case.

Because Ortiz and Erickson aren't married, she could be compelled to testify against him, said prosecutor Alex Miller.

Orioles manager Mike Hargrove called the arrest "a private matter'' and said the team had no plans to take disciplinary action.

"You're sitting here presupposing that he's guilty. And it's my understanding that that's not the way we do things,'' said Hargrove, adding that the news of the arrest could follow Erickson on the road.

The pitcher's next start will be Friday or Saturday in Boston.

An Orioles spokesman said the team would not comment until it had more information about the arrest. Hargrove said the team will stand behind Erickson.

"The only thing I can go on is, I know Scott Erickson and he's been a gentleman. He's been a good teammate and a good team member,'' Hargrove said. "Beyond that, there's nothing really I can say. I have no knowledge of the particulars.''

"I'm sure he's going to hear comments in other cities,'' Hargrove said. "That's something he'll have to deal with. Scott's mentally tough.''

Police said the fight began early Monday with Ortiz throwing items around the apartment. Erickson yelled at Ortiz and told her he wanted her to leave.

Erickson grabbed Ortiz around the waist, picked her up and put her in the hallway, police said. When she tried to get back inside, police said Erickson "grabbed her around the neck and threw her to the floor.'' He gripped her hair and pulled her toward the elevator, where he threw her inside and sent the elevator to the lobby, police said.

Ortiz returned to the couple's floor. Police said she kicked on the door until Erickson answered, but he pushed her back into the hall. When officers arrived, they found Ortiz curled up in a ball, crying, behind the apartment's front door.

Police said Erickson told them he grabbed Ortiz around the waist "in an attempt to calm her down.'' Ortiz bit him, but Erickson said he "continued to take her to the elevator, where he sent her down to the lobby,'' according to the police report.

Ortiz, 29, told reporters Monday afternoon that the incident was a "private matter between Scott and myself and unfortunately has escalated to the level of police involvement.''

Ortiz, who was not charged, issued the statement in a conference call with the Beverly Hills Sports Council, the agency that represents Erickson.

"I want to set the record straight that Scott has never been physically abusive toward me, and in no way do I feel threatened or felt fear from Scott,'' Ortiz said.

Ortiz did not take questions after making the statement.

Police arrested Erickson just after 3 a.m. and charged him with second-degree assault. He was released later Monday morning on his own recognizance.

A Sept. 6 hearing is set for Erickson in district court. Court records show he has no prior arrests in Maryland.

Erickson had a disappointing outing Sunday, allowing five runs and seven hits in five innings in the Orioles' 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Erickson missed all of last season after undergoing elbow surgery in August 2000.

He was the Orioles' opening day pitcher this season. He had been winless from April 28 until Tuesday, when he defeated the Seattle Mariners.

Erickson played one season at the University of Arizona. His 18 victories in 1989 is a school record for wins in a single season.

After leaving Arizona, Erickson broke into the major leagues in 1990 with the Minnesota Twins. He pitched a no-hitter against Milwaukee on April 27, 1994, with the Twins.

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