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Offerman is charged

Assault with a bat brings league ban

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Jose Offerman was having a pretty good summer.

Then in a flash, things went flying out of control.

Looking for a last chance in the majors, the former two-time All-Star and Red Sox utilityman turned violent at a minor league game Tuesday night. Hit by a fastball, Offerman charged the mound with his bat and swung at least twice, striking the opposing pitcher and catcher.

Offerman, playing for the Long Island Ducks, was arrested on assault charges. The Atlantic League suspended him indefinitely yesterday and expected to make a final decision by the end of the week.

Bridgeport catcher John Nathans got a concussion that's likely to sideline him for the rest of the season. Pitcher Matt Beech wound up with a broken finger.

City police, providing security during the game, arrested Offerman. He was charged with two counts of second-degree assault. Offerman posted $10,000 bond and is due in Bridgeport Superior Court Aug. 23.

"It was one of those moments that you want to forget. I lost it for about 10 seconds," Offerman told the Connecticut Post. "That's what happened to me. I didn't have any intentions and I feel sorry for what happened and the way it happened."

Video and pictures of Offerman's attack drew much attention.

"Did you see that?" said Minnesota Twins star Torii Hunter, a friend of Offerman. "There's demons in everybody.

"Some people snap. You take a bat out there, you can get blackballed from baseball."

Offerman did not accompany the Ducks to last night's game. Joe Klein, the league's executive director and a former general manager in Texas, Cleveland, and Detroit, said he got a busy signal when calling Offerman's cellphone.

"I've never been so surprised in my life," Beech said, cradling a bandaged right hand. "As soon as he got hit in the calf, he raised the bat above his head and ran toward me to hit me with the bat."

At 38, Offerman was hoping a strong showing with the Ducks might boost his career. He was hitting .335 for the independent team, and sent the first pitch of Tuesday night's game sailing into the net beyond the left-field fence for a home run.

When he came up again the next inning, he got hit in the left leg by Beech's second pitch. That's when Offerman went wild.

"I knew it was intentional because the catcher, he said something to me, and when he hit me, I realized he did it on purpose," Offerman told the Post. "I overreacted. I ran to the mound with my bat in my hand."

Nathans was hit when he came running out to protect his pitcher. Beech got a broke middle finger on his glove hand.

"He swung the first time at my head and it was kind of like a helicopter follow-through, and I believe that is when John got hit in the back of the head," Beech said.

Offerman said he never meant to hit Nathans, and plans to apologize to everyone involved.

"If he got hit, it was because he tried to run behind me and take the bat and that was an accident," Offerman said. "I don't mean to hit him. I was facing the pitcher and I never went to hit the guy."

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