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Rays reliever Reyes apologizes after being punched, Tasered in bar fight

Hours after a fight left him with a bruised left eye and a cut on his nose, Al Reyes pitches 
for the Rays, getting out both batters he faced and earning the win against the Orioles.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Hours after a fight left him with a bruised left eye and a cut on his nose, Al Reyes pitches for the Rays, getting out both batters he faced and earning the win against the Orioles.

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays reliever Al Reyes had a bruised and swollen left eye, a nasty cut on his nose and an apology for teammates and fans after his arrest early Friday following a bar fight in Tampa. And then he ended up with the victory in Friday night's game.

"Pretty long day," Reyes said.

Tampa police said Reyes, who was celebrating his 38th birthday, was drunk and disruptive when he fell down about 2:30 a.m. and picked a fight, spat blood at patrons of the Hyde Park Cafe and had to be Tasered twice. He was charged with affray (defined as a noisy fight or quarrel) and released on his own recognizance.

Reyes took no questions and offered no explanations in a 27-second statement before the game against Baltimore.

"I tried to have a good time on my birthday, but I guess that was the worst one," he said. "I just want to apologize again to my teammates, the organization, the owner and the fans for what happened last night."

Reyes was able to pitch Friday and did well, retiring the final two batters in the eighth, despite the injuries and potential aftereffects of the Taser, which likely left him stiff and sore, said Dr. Eric Coris, director of the Sports Medicine Institute at the USF College of Medicine.

"It was good to come up with a win," Reyes said afterward. "Whatever happened last night, I just forget about that and I tried to stay positive and focus on the game. I don't want to let anything affect me and the way I'm pitching."

Reyes will not face any discipline from the team. "It's one of those unfortunate, isolated incidents," manager Joe Maddon said. "I don't really believe you're going to see that happen again with Al. We're just going to move beyond it. It's just unfortunate that it occurred."

Witnesses told police the incident started about 2:30 a.m., when Reyes fell against a ceramic pot inside the popular bar. Thinking he had been pushed, Reyes began exchanging words with patron Eduardo Mora, police said.

Mora then punched Reyes in the face, police said, and Reyes "began to spit blood on the people in the area and began to swing his arms about." Bouncers tried to control Reyes, who is listed at 6 feet 1, 230 pounds, but he kept pushing them away.

When a Tampa Police officer working extra duty at the bar stepped in and yelled, "Stop, Police!" Reyes "continued spitting blood and thrashing about," the police report said.

The officer warned Reyes he would Taser him, and he did, knocking Reyes to the bar floor. Ignoring police commands to stay down, Reyes got up and was Tasered a second time, police said, then eventually calmed down and received treatment for the cut on his nose.

Mora, 31, was charged with battery and released. Reached at his Land O'Lakes home, Mora said he didn't hit Reyes but that a friend did and that he had a witness, though he declined to name her. Mora, who said he works as a mortgage broker, has been arrested before on charges of DUI and domestic violence battery, state records show.

Mora said Reyes, who seemed to have been drinking heavily, was gushing blood — not spitting — and reaching out for people after being punched.

"All of a sudden, he started touching everybody," Mora said. "He was lost. He just got hit. He was trying to find out who hit him."

Tampa police spokesman Jim Contento said it was unlikely additional charges would be filed, and it is common for suspects in these types of incidents to be released without being booked into jail.

"They're very minor misdemeanor charges," he said. "They have ties to the community, and we know they're going to show up in court."

Times staff writer Lisa Greene and Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report.

Rays reliever Reyes apologizes after being punched, Tasered in bar fight 04/11/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 1:38pm]
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