Francisco's agent hoped charges would be dropped

Updated: October 29, 2004, 9:19 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers reliever Frank Francisco pleaded not guilty Friday to a misdemeanor assault charge for breaking a woman's nose after tossing a chair into the stands at an Oakland A's game, his attorney said.

Francisco could face one year in county jail and a maximum three years' probation if convicted. A felony charge carried a possible penalty of three years in state prison.

The pitcher was not required to appear Friday in Alameda County Superior Court for his arraignment.

"We have no intention of pleading guilty to that charge," said his attorney, Rick Minkoff. "I was hopeful ... that there wouldn't be any criminal charges. We'll just have to see."

Francisco hurled a plastic chair into the right-field seats after fans near the Rangers bullpen began heckling the team during Texas' loss to the A's on Sept. 13.

The chair struck Jennifer Bueno of Livermore, breaking her nose. Her husband, Craig, had been among the fans heckling the Rangers.

Francisco's agent, Richard Thompson, said he had hoped the charges would be dropped altogether.

"If you look at the whole scope of possibilities -- felony, misdemeanor or dismissal -- obviously, dismissal would have been the best," he said.

Francisco was suspended for 15 games and has since returned to his home in the Dominican Republic.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press