"I'd like to say that I'm not at all proud of what happened and
the way I behaved on the beach that particular day,'' Ponson told
reporters Wednesday in his native Papiamento language before
boarding a private jet headed to Miami. "I would like to apologize
to everybody, but especially to the young people of Aruba, who
always considered me their role model. I'm very sorry for what took
place and I would surely never let this happen again.''
Ponson also apologized to the judge and three other people who
were on the beach.
Ponson was released from jail Tuesday after a week in detention
while police investigated allegations that he punched a judge. The
28-year-old right-hander faces charges of public violence and
His trial was set for March 3, when he would be in spring
training with the Orioles. It was not clear whether Ponson would be
required to attend the trial, and he did not take any questions
from journalists before he boarded a private jet with his agent and
flew to Miami to start his conditioning for the upcoming season.
Ponson, who was born on the Dutch Caribbean island, allegedly
punched a local judge on Dec. 25 at a beach in Boca Catalina after
several people confronted Ponson, accusing him of harassing them
with his personal watercraft and operating it recklessly, police
The judge was hospitalized with minor injuries, authorities
said. Ponson fled the scene but police detained him later in the
day, said authorities.
Ponson went 11-15 with a 5.30 ERA in 33 starts and 215.2 innings
pitched last season. He has played with the Orioles except for a
brief stint with the San Francisco Giants in 2003. He became a free
agent after that season and signed a $22.5 million, three-year
contract with Baltimore.
He has a 69-80 career record in seven seasons with a 4.67 ERA
and 802 strikeouts in 210 games and 1,313 innings pitched.
In 1998, Ponson became the third Aruban to play in the major
leagues. In 2003, he was decorated in his homeland as a knight in
the Order of the Dutch Royal House.