Rangers' Kenny Rogers Reinstated by Arbitrator
NEW YORK – Kenny Rogers (search) was reinstated Tuesday when an arbitrator ruled that commissioner Bud Selig (search) went too far by suspending the Texas pitcher for 20 games and fining him $50,000 for shoving two cameramen.
Rogers has already sat out 12 games. He will return to the Rangers for Wednesday night's game at Boston, and his fine will be converted to a charitable contribution.
The ruling, by arbitrator Shyam Das (search), followed a hearing Monday in Chicago.
"I strongly disagree with arbitrator Das' decision today," Selig said in a statement. "It sends the wrong message to every one of our constituents: the fans, the media, and our players.
"There is a standard of behavior that is expected of our players, which was breached in this case. The arbitrator's decision diminishes that standard and is contrary to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. In my opinion, the decision is seriously ill-conceived," he said.
Rogers was penalized for a videotaped tirade June 29 when he came onto the field in Texas for pregame stretching and threw a camera to the ground, kicked it and threatened to do more damage. One of the cameramen he shoved, Larry Rodriguez of KDFW-TV, was treated at a hospital.
Rogers later turned himself in to police in Arlington, Texas, on misdemeanor assault charges and posted a $1,500 bond. He also apologized to the cameramen and fans for his behavior.
Das' decision closes the case. As part of his ruling, the arbitrator said the games Rogers missed could be taken into account if the pitcher falls short of any incentive clauses in his contract.
Players' union general counsel Michael Weiner said Das made an "expedited ruling" because Rogers' suspension was in effect. The union originally appealed the penalty to Selig, then filed a grievance and argued that the commissioner broke precedent.
Rogers' suspension was among the harshest penalties imposed by the commissioner's office for on-field conduct. Only the 30-day penalty given Cincinnati manager Pete Rose in 1988 for pushing umpire Dave Pallone was longer.
"I'm surprised and disappointed. Larry is still going through medical treatment for the injury," KDFW news director Maria Barrs said.
Rodriguez has yet to resume his duties with the station, she said.
Rogers is 11-4 with a 2.77 ERA for the Rangers, who are in the AL wild-card race. He relieved in the All-Star game on July 12 at Comerica Park and was booed by fans in Detroit.