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Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Myers takes personal leave after assault charge

Associated Press

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.

Stark: It's about time
It's good to see that Brett Myers and the Phillies finally got around to acknowledging something Tuesday that most of the planet had figured out long before they did:

That they haven't exactly been the kings of sensitivity these last few days.

You can read the statements they issued Tuesday and judge for yourself. But in reality, all they actually did was reach a conclusion they should have reached four days ago.

To read more of Jayson Stark's blog, click here .

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.

Brett Myers

"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 Dominguez.

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."