Austin Kearns headed to court for DUI

Updated: March 1, 2011, 7:39 PM ET
Associated Press

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Outfielder Austin Kearns was re-signed by the Cleveland Indians, who felt the veteran could have a positive influence on the majors' youngest team.

They didn't expect any trouble from him.

On Tuesday, the Indians expressed disappointment after learning Kearns was arrested in Kentucky last month on suspicion of drunk driving -- just days before he reported to training camp.

Kearns
Kearns

Kearns didn't tell the Indians about the arrest, which took place on Feb. 12 in Lexington, his hometown. The club didn't find out about the incident until late Monday night. Kearns met with manager Manny Acta and general manager Chris Antonetti at the team's training complex on Tuesday.

"We talked," Kearns said, "and we're all on the same page."

Antonetti refused to discuss any specifics of Kearns' situation, and repeatedly deferred to a statement the team released in which the GM said "the Indians organization takes these issues very seriously and is disappointed by the circumstances."

Kearns spoke with reporters outside the clubhouse on Tuesday, a few hours before the Indians hosted the Los Angeles Dodger in an exhibition.

Kearns said he did not tell the team about his arrest on the advice of his attorneys. He also declined to discuss any details of his arrest.

"Some stuff is still in the process of whatever the legal process is," he said. "I can't really talk about anything."

Acta has a long-term relationahip with Kearns after managing him in Washington.

"It's unfortunate," Acta said. "I have spent pretty much my whole career managing next to him. I can vouch for him. He's a quality human being, but he's also human."

Kearns' arrest was first reported by the Jessamine (Ky.) Journal.

According to the paper, the 30-year-old Kearns was arrested after being stopped by an off-duty Lexington police officer, who said Kearns was "flashing his headlights and weaving" in a 2007 Cadillac Escalade. Kearns posted bond and has a court appearance scheduled for March 10.

Kearns said his attorney will represent him in court. He would not say if he is contesting the DUI charge.

Citing the police report, the paper said Kearns told a sheriff's deputy that he'd had a "a couple bourbon and cokes." According to the report, Kearns refused a field sobriety test and was "very unsteady on his feet." Kearns reportedly told the officer he was a professional baseball player "and asked if I could cut him a break."

Kearns said he saw the report, but had no comment about whether he asked for special treatment.

The Indians signed Kearns to a one-year, $1.3 million contract in December. He began last season with Cleveland before being traded to the New York Yankees on July 30 for minor league pitcher Zach McAllister. He batted a combined .263 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press