Mondesi's bank accounts, salary frozen during appeal

Updated: April 16, 2004, 5:21 PM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Raul Mondesi will play without pay until a lawsuit against him is settled.

A Dominican court ruled in February he owed former major leaguer Mario Guerrero about $640,000 for helping Mondesi improve his baseball skills.

Mondesi appealed the ruling but said the court ordered his bank accounts frozen and the Pirates decided to withhold his pay. His contract this year is for $1.15 million.

"I froze when they called me in the office to tell me that I won't be paid for these first two weeks, and possibly not for future weeks until the problem is resolved," Mondesi told The Associated Press by telephone from New York, where his team is playing the Mets.

Pirates VP of communications Patty Paytas said the team is putting Mondesi's wages into an interest-bearing escrow account until the case is resolved.

"Obviously, we are not trying to make our player unhappy, but we believe that we have to comply with the court order," she said.

Mondesi's appeal is scheduled for June 19. A separate appeal on the freezing of his bank accounts is set for Wednesday.

Guerrero sued Mondesi and a handful of other players in 1998, saying they promised Guerrero 1 percent of future salaries for teaching them baseball skills that would prepare them for the major leagues.

Some players settled with Guerrero, while others have cases pending. Mondesi, 1994 NL Rookie of the Year with Los Angeles, denied Guerrero's claim.

"I have no agreement with Guerrero, and he never taught me anything," Mondesi said. "I'm not going to give him a cent of my money."

This season, Mondesi is hitting .278 with two homers and nine RBIs. In his 11-year major league career, he has batted .276 with 264 homers.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press