Nelson, Garcia not present at arraignment

BOSTON -- Former Yankees Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia and a
Fenway Park groundskeeper pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges
they brawled in New York's bullpen during the AL championship

Neither player attended the five-minute arraignment hearing at
Roxbury District Court. The groundskeeper, Paul Williams, was in
court but had no comment afterward.

The judge set a Feb. 5 pretrial hearing for the players and a
Feb. 24 pretrial hearing for Williams. All three have been charged
with assault and battery.

Attorneys for the two players -- both now free agents -- had no
comment Wednesday on whether the case could be resolved by Feb. 5.
The players won't be required to attend the Feb. 5 hearing unless
the case is nearing resolution.

Last month, a clerk magistrate ruled there was probable cause to
go forward with charges against the players and enough evidence to
go forward with a cross-complaint brought by Nelson against
Williams, a 24-year-old part-time groundskeeper and middle school
teacher from Derry, N.H.

The fight was during Game 3 of the ALCS on Oct. 11, just innings
after a bench-clearing melee that started when Garcia was hit by a
pitch from Pedro Martinez.

Williams said he was attacked by Nelson after the Yankees'
reliever bumped him, cursed and told him to leave the bullpen if he
wanted to cheer for Boston.

Nelson has said Williams provoked the fight.