Mondesi returned to Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Raul Mondesi, his pay withheld for most of the season because of a civil suit, will sit out the rest of the year, he said Monday.

"I won't play another game this season," Mondesi told The
Associated Press. "I can't concentrate well enough to play
baseball. I don't want to become a distraction for the team. This
is the best for the Pirates, for myself and my family."

Mondesi, 33, returned to his native Caribbean country on Saturday, missing
a three-game weekend series against Los Angeles. His name was written into the lineup Friday, but he was scratched prior to game time.

"He's going to the Dominican Republic to be with his family,
and we support that decision," Pirates general manager David
Littlefield said at the time.

Littlefield told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday night that he hasn't been told by Mondesi or his representatives that Mondesi has played his last game. Mondesi said he would call his agent, Jeff Moorad, to tell him his decision, and that Moorad would communicate it to the Pirates.

"We continue to support him and help him get through this," Littlefield told the newspaper. "He's still sorting some things out. He's going through some tough times. We'd like to have him back sooner than later."

A Dominican civil court ruled in February that Mondesi owed
former major leaguer Mario Guerrero about $640,000 for helping him
improve his baseball skills, a claim which Mondesi denies.

Guerrero sued Mondesi and a handful of other players in 1998, saying they promised Guerrero 1 percent of future salaries for teaching them baseball skills that would prepare them for the majors. Some players settled with Guerrero, while others have cases pending.

Mondesi appealed the February ruling, but said the court ordered his nine
accounts in nine Dominican banks frozen and the Pirates withheld
his pay.

In April, Mondesi had threatened to leave the team if the
Pirates didn't pay him by the end of the month.

Last Wednesday, a Dominican court order that caused the Pirates
to hold his pay was lifted. The Pirates then said they would
release Mondesi's wages from an interest-bearing escrow account.

Signed as a free agent in February, Mondesi was hitting .283
with two homers and 14 RBI this season.

Mondesi was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1994 with the Los
Angeles Dodgers. He won Gold Glove awards in 1995 and 1997 and
twice had 30-homer, 30-steal seasons.

Mondesi has a career batting average of .276 with 266 homers and
842 RBI in 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Toronto, New York Yankees,
Arizona and Pittsburgh.

He said he needs a rest and wants to spend more time with his
four children.

"I've played 20 straight years of baseball all year round," he
said. "I deserve a rest even if it's only a few months. Today I
took my children to school for the first time in my life. It was an
amazing feeling."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.