Myers takes personal leave after assault charge

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies pitcher Brett Myers will take a leave of absence through the All-Star break, saying he has embarrassed his family and the team with his arrest on charges that he hit his wife in the face.

Myers, Philadelphia's best pitcher, said Tuesday he asked the team for time off so he can "concentrate on this matter and make
plans for whatever assistance is appropriate."

He was arrested Friday in Boston and accused of striking his wife on a street not far from Fenway Park. He was freed after his wife posted $200 bail, and he faces an Aug. 4 court date on assault charges.

"First, while I dispute that the facts are as alleged, I recognize that my behavior was inappropriate and for that I apologize," Myers said in a statement. "Second, I recognize that the incident created an embarrassing situation for many people, including my wife and family, my teammates, the Phillies organization, and fans, and I am very sorry for that."

The Phillies let Myers pitch the next day against the Red Sox and he threw five innings. The decision to let their ace pitch was
heavily criticized in Philadelphia and a women's group that fights
domestic violence called for a suspension.

Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said Friday the team would not take disciplinary action against Myers until the case is resolved, and did not feel what happened was an embarrassment to
the team.

Team president David Montgomery insisted Tuesday the team is not indifferent to spousal abuse.

"We abhor such violence and recognize that it is a very serious
problem affecting a substantial number of victims, particularly
women, across the country," he said. "If we have been guilty of
delay in expressing these sentiments, we are sorry."

Myers said after game he was only sorry that the matter "had to
go public." He was more contrite in his written statement Tuesday.

"My wife and children are very important to me and I am willing
to do whatever is necessary to address any problems that might harm
our marriage," he said.

The Phillies offered professional, employee assistance resources
to help Brett and Kim Myers.

"We believe that the present status, including a public apology by Brett Myers, time off from baseball, professional assistance for Brett and Kim Myers, and this statement achieves the appropriate
balance for now," Montgomery said.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Myers informed him of his plans Monday night after the team arrived in Baltimore. Manuel said Ryan Madson would take Myers' scheduled Thursday start in an interleague game against the Orioles.

"I go along with Brett 100 percent," Manuel said. "This is something I think he needs to take care of. ... If this is the best
way this can be handled, that's fine."

Myers was arguing with his wife shortly after midnight, Boston police said. Witnesses told police the 25-year-old pitcher hit her.
One witness told investigators Myers also pulled her hair.

Police responded to a 911 call and said they found Myers' wife crying and with a swollen face. Officers found Myers nearby and
arrested him.

"It appears that the accuracy of what has been published ...
has been greatly overstated," said Myers' attorney, Carlos

Myers is 5-3 with a 3.86 ERA. The Phillies, losers of lost five straight and 11 of 13, are second in the NL East, 12 games behind
the New York Mets entering Tuesday night. He will be gone from the
team through the July 11 All-Star Game.

"It's tough right now," outfielder Bobby Abreu said in a quiet
clubhouse before Tuesday's game against the Orioles was rained out. "We're in a tough situation,"

Added catcher Sal Fasano: "I don't know if it's the right move, I don't know if it's the wrong move. He's going through a difficult time in his life and he has to so whatever it takes to get himself
back to normal."