Offerman pleads not guilty to charges stemming from mound attack

Updated: September 24, 2007, 11:27 AM ET
Associated Press

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Former major league All-Star Jose Offerman pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he attacked a pitcher and catcher with his bat during a minor league game.

Offerman is scheduled back in Bridgeport Superior Court on Oct. 17. He declined comment after his appearance Monday.

Jose Offerman
AP Photo/Connecticut Post, Christian AbrahamBridgeport Bluefish catcher John Nathans, right, tried to stop Jose Offerman from hitting Bluefish pitcher Matt Beech with a bat. Beech broke a finger and Nathans was hit in the head in the attack.

Offerman, who is charged with two counts of second-degree assault, charged the mound after he was hit with a pitch while batting for the Long Island Ducks on Aug. 14. He was accused of hitting two Bridgeport Bluefish players and indefinitely suspended the next day.

During the ensuing melee, Bluefish catcher John Nathans sustained a concussion and pitcher Matt Beech broke a finger on his non-throwing hand.

Offerman's attorney Frank Riccio has said he does not believe his client struck the players with a bat.

The 38-year-old Offerman last played in the majors in 2005 with the New York Mets. He batted .273 during 15 seasons in the majors and was an All-Star infielder in 1995 with the Dodgers and in 1999 with Boston.

During the minor league game, Offerman hit a home run on the first pitch. The next time up, Beech hit him in the leg with a pitch. Beech acknowledged he was trying to pitch Offerman inside but said he wasn't aiming to hit him.

The attack cleared both benches and the game was delayed about 20 minutes. Offerman, Beech and Bridgeport manager and former major league pitcher Tommy John were ejected.

Beech and Ducks catcher Jared Price were suspended for their roles in the fight.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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