Wells tripped on bar stool before cutting self

Updated: May 21, 2004, 6:28 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- David Wells said the accident that put him on the disabled list was caused when he tripped over a bar stool in his kitchen.

The Padres left-hander denied reports that the mishap Sunday night happened while he was roughhousing with a friend, but admitted the chain of events started when a buddy slapped him on the back of the neck.

David Wells
Starting Pitcher
San Diego Padres
8 2 4 0 16 3.78

"We do that on the team," Wells said Thursday during a telephone conference call. "I was at my counter, and I just turned around and said, 'Knock it off,' took two steps and the bar stool was right there and I kicked it. Trust me, it didn't feel too good. When I kicked it, I tripped. I was wearing flip-flops. I lost my balance and went right over. I did a header over the bar stool.

"I wasn't running, I wasn't playhousing."

Wells, who detailed his hard-living ways in a book last year, said that after tripping, he knocked a bottle of wine onto the floor and landed on it and a glass he was holding. He severed a tendon in his right wrist, requiring surgery, and cut his left palm.

It was the first time Wells spoke to reporters since the accident, which came several hours after he lost 4-2 to the Cubs.

"I can't lie. I cut my wrists because I wasn't getting any run support," Wells joked.

Wells, 2-4 with a 3.78 ERA, was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Monday and will miss at least two starts. He plans to rejoin the team in Colorado next week, although he won't be eligible to be activated until June 1.

Wells said he was trying to catch his balance when he knocked the bottle of wine onto the floor. "I fell right on top of it," said the 6-foot-3, 248-pounder. "I cut the right arm with the bottle. I had a glass in my right hand. I don't know why I didn't throw it. I landed on it, and cut my left hand a little bit. The left hand is fine. The right is the worst of the cuts."

He said his wrought-iron bar stools are "pretty gnarly," weighing 30-to-40 pounds each.

There was plenty of speculation about how Wells got hurt, because he's been involved in off-field altercations in recent years.

In January 1997, while back in San Diego for his mother's funeral, Wells got into a street fight outside a bar and broke his pitching hand. In 2002, while with the Yankees, he was punched in the face by a man during an early morning argument in a New York diner and lost two teeth.

Last year, Wells wrote the book "Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball."

Wells wrote that he pitched a perfect game with the Yankees in 1998 "with bloodshot eyes, monster breath and a raging, skull-rattling hangover" after partying until several hours before game time.

"I'm going to hear a lot things from a lot of people, just because of who I am and how people perceive me," Wells said. "It doesn't bother me. I've been through a lot of situations in my career and life. I couldn't care less what people think and say.

"I don't have any reason to lie," he said. "I'm not trying to cover things up. It was an honest and ridiculous accident. I tripped and fell. That's all there is. Nobody feels worse than me. I can't apologize enough to the team. But an accident is an accident."

Wells said he'll probably wear a brace on his right wrist when he returns.

The tendon he cut is the one that's usually removed when a pitcher undergoes "Tommy John" reconstructive elbow surgery.

"If you cut any tendon, that's the one to cut," Wells said. "I got lucky there. They just repaired it. They didn't take it out."

Wells said he's not worried about hitting, saying he stinks at it.

"The best thing is to bunt," he said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press