No charges filed in incident; DUI charge revealed

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Baltimore Orioles pitcher Sidney
Ponson was charged in January with driving under the influence in
Florida, authorities said Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Ponson said he hurt his right hand Tuesday
night fending off a fellow restaurant patron. Tuesday's incident
marked the second time in three months that the right-hander was
involved in an altercation.

The 28-year-old Ponson was arrested early on Jan. 21 on
Interstate 95 in Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Highway Patrol told
The Associated Press Thursday night. The arrest was first reported
on The (Baltimore) Sun's Web site on Thursday.

A trooper on routine patrol in Broward County in Florida
observed a vehicle traveling behind his operated by Ponson
traveling about 85 mph in a 65-mph zone, according to Lieut. Bill

The trooper, Greg Elias, slowed down, and Ponson's vehicle
slowed to 25 mph, Ferrell said. The minimum speed on that part of
I-95 is 40 mph.

Elias ordered the vehicle to stop and upon questioning the
driver, said he smelled a strong odor of alcohol, Ferrell said.
Ponson failed field sobriety tests, was arrested and taken to the
Broward County jail for processing.

A court date has not been set.

Ponson's agent, Barry Praver, said late Thursday, "Because it's
an ongoing matter, I cannot comment." And Orioles spokesman Bill
Stetka said, "We're still gathering information and looking into

Ponson spent 11 days in an Aruban jail following a Christmas Day
fight at the beach. He apologized for his behavior and reached a
settlement that involves community service and a charitable

But trouble found Ponson again Tuesday night. Ponson was eating
dinner with his girlfriend when a man came up to him and
essentially challenged him to a fight. After Ponson attempted to
ignore the man, he began to push the pitcher in the chest. That's
when Ponson moved to defend himself.

"It kept going on and on; he was nagging me forever," Ponson
said Thursday. "It was the worst I'd ever heard. Then he touched
me, and I had to draw a line. ... You clearly could see the guy was
intoxicated. It was one of those things, you can't do nothing about

Ponson's hand was swollen Thursday, but the injury was not

"I'm good -- no problems at all," he said. "I'm going to go
out there and play catch and I'll throw my bullpen [Friday]."

Ponson said police responded to the scene at the restaurant and
asked him if he wanted to press charges, but he declined. A
spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department said he could
not comment on the matter because no charges were filed.

"I'm not going to lie. When I do something wrong, I'm the first
one to admit it," Ponson said. "This time, I didn't do nothing

Praver said the pitcher was nearly done with dinner when a man
approached Ponson and said, "So, you're the Aruban tough guy."
Praver said Ponson attempted to ignore the man, but the verbal
abuse soon developed into a physical confrontation.

"Sidney tried his best to defuse the situation by ignoring the
intoxicated person, but when the guy became physical, there was a
point where he had to get the guy off him."

Ponson declined to identify the restaurant and Praver said he
didn't know its name.

Said Ponson: "Hopefully it won't happen again. It was one of
those things, people are going to find out who I am, try to push my
buttons. ... I held back as much as I could."

Another Orioles pitcher, Eric DuBose, was arrested Monday and
charged with drunken driving after sheriff's deputies in Sarasota
County, Florida, saw him swerving and nearly hitting a car.