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HOUSTON -- New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb while allegedly striking the grandfather of his children last week at Citi Field, a team official said, and he is done for the season.
Rodriguez, who pitched Saturday with discomfort in his return from a two-day team suspension, was examined Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Team doctors recommended surgery, but a date for the procedure has yet to be scheduled."Obviously I'm disappointed, discouraged, frustrated," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "When you get this kind of news it's ... we've just been through a lot. We seem to continue to have difficulties keeping things from -- having these type of injuries or these type of setbacks. Every year it seems like we get a little something here or there." Manuel didn't dispute that Rodriguez will miss the rest of the season but said he didn't know how much longer beyond that it will take for the reliever to recover.
Rodriguez was charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment as a result of the incident in the family room at Citi Field last Wednesday.
"You can make the assumption that the injury resulted from the incident last week," the official said.
Rodriguez lost $125,000 in salary during his two-day team-imposed suspension, and could be in line to forfeit the salary for the remainder of the season if a nonbaseball event resulted in the injury, as is alleged. Rodriguez is making $11.5 million this season.A team spokesman confirmed voiding Rodriguez's contract is under consideration. "We are exploring all of our options," he said. There is precedent for a club successfully voiding a contract. In fact, the Houston Astros received final written notice Monday from an arbitrator supporting their position that they were within their rights to refuse to honor the remainder of right-hander Shawn Chacon's contract as the result of a June 2008 incident in which the pitcher threw GM Ed Wade to the ground. The hearing was held last fall. Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith declined comment, saying the cases were dissimilar and that it was not his place to address Mets business. Rodriguez is owed $11.5 million in 2011 and has a vesting option for 2012 at $17.5 million that will kick in if he finishes 55 games next season and is healthy as the guaranteed portion of the contract concludes. When asked whether the injury occurred during the altercation, Manuel responded: "I was told during that time frame, yes." He said he does not think Rodriguez is contesting when it happened. Rodriguez's agent, Paul Kinzer, would not say whether he would dispute that Rodriguez was injured during the incident. "Frankie is going to have surgery and we are focused on that right now," Kinzer told the Venezuelan sports publication Lider. "We will address the other issues later."
No immediate roster move was made to place Rodriguez on the disabled list, but he is not with the team in Houston.The 28-year-old reliever was arrested, charged and released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14. Rodriguez is accused of grabbing 53-year-old Carlos Peña, hauling him into a tunnel near the family lounge beneath Citi Field and hitting him in the face. Pena was taken to a hospital with a scrape and swelling above his eyebrow. Manuel said he did not learn until Sunday, the day after Rodriguez returned to pitching, that the thumb was injured. Manuel added that he was disappointed the Mets had lost their closer's services but added: "I'm not angry." Manuel suggested there were mitigating factors in what set off Rodriguez during the alleged incident, and that's why he's not being more forceful in his condemnation of the closer. "When you have some of the information -- not all the information -- and you can pass judgment on the little information that you have, you don't condone it, but you can see why," Manuel said. "I think that's what has to be taken into account with your frustrations and things." Asked to elaborate on the cryptic remarks, Manuel declined. "I can't, because from what I understand it's still a legal type of thing," Manuel said. "I really wish I could. I think it would be only fair to the people involved to stay away from that." Multiple teammates told ESPNNewYork.com, however, that Rodriguez indicated he was upset with Pena's treatment of Rodriguez's grandmother, who raised him, and with the victim using his possessions. It was revealed at Rodriguez's arraignment that Pena stayed at one of Rodriguez's homes and drove one of his cars. Manuel said several relievers could be used in the closer role with Rodriguez out. "[I'll] go matchups and see what fits best and who's pitching well," he said. "It's whoever I think is hot and I think it could be safe to say that you'll see [Hisanori] Takahashi getting a shot at closing games. Could be safe to say you'll see [Bobby] Parnell or [Manny] Acosta, maybe [Pedro] Feliciano, maybe [Elmer] Dessens. Bullpen by committee." Third baseman David Wright said it's tough for the Mets to lose their closer, but that they have to pull together to make up for it. "We've dug ourselves a hole and that doesn't help us, there's no question about that," he said. "But it gives other guys in here a chance to step up and do a job while he's out." Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.