Padilla cleared after incident in Denver

Updated: May 29, 2010, 11:57 PM ET
By Tony Jackson | ESPNLosAngeles.com

DENVER -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla wasn't charged following an incident in his room at the team hotel here early Saturday morning in which police were called and an unidentified woman who was described as a "friend" of Padilla accused him of slapping her.

A Denver Police Department spokesperson said a daylong investigation into the incident by officers turned up no evidence to support a charge.

The defense attorney handling the case on Padilla's behalf said the woman had recanted her accusation both to him and to the police.

"There was an allegation made by a young lady, a friend of Mr. Padilla, that he slapped her in the face," said David Lane, a Denver criminal defense attorney who said he was called onto the case by Major League Baseball. "Mr. Padilla left the room and wasn't in the room afterward. There had been sort of a verbal exchange with this young lady, and it involved an allegation of jealousy."

Lane went on to say that Padilla and the woman, who had flown in from another state, had visited a night club late Friday after the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies.

"I don't know exactly what happened, but when professional athletes are out at clubs, they are going to get a lot of female attention," Lane said. "I believe she was upset about the attention Mr. Padilla got at the club."

Apparently, the discord continued until the two returned to Padilla's room at the team hotel. Police eventually were called and responded to the hotel at 3:51 a.m. No charges were filed at that time, and after investigators spoke to the closest thing they could find to potential witnesses -- Padilla and the woman were the only ones in the room, so police interviewed guests in adjacent rooms -- the decision was made not to pursue charges.

"Throughout the day, we investigated the alleged crime," said Detective Leslie Branch-Wise of the Denver police's public-information unit. "We spoke with the victim. There was no evidence to support the allegation."

Police embargoed information until the late afternoon news conference at thier downtown headquarters.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, issued a one-sentence statement earlier in the afternoon: "We are aware of the sitaution and are looking into it, but will not comment further on a pending legal matter."

Branch-Wise was asked why a news conference was called to discuss an incident that turned out to be much ado about nothing.

"We wanted to let you all know that we take all allegations of domestic violence very seriously, no matter who is making the allegation," she said.

Neither Branch-Wise nor Lane would provide the name of the victim. Branch-Wise said the police report was considered evidence and wouldn't be released at the news conference, but could be made available by standard protocol of the media putting in a formal request. She added that the request would not be received until Tuesday because Monday is Memorial Day.

Lane said Padilla cooperated fully with investigators, voluntarily going to police headquarters to give his statement.

Padilla, the Dodgers' starting pitcher on Opening Day, has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 25 with a nerve problem at the top of his right forearm but is close to returning. He threw a 45-pitch simulated game at Coors Field a few hours before Saturday night's game -- and a few hours after the incident. He is expected to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment sometime in the next week or so.

Padilla left the ballpark before reporters were allowed into the clubhouse and didn't return before reporters left to attend the police news conference.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Tony Jackson

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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