Baseball

Ex-major leaguer Offerman denies assault claims

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — Former major leaguer Jose Offerman testified Friday that he neither swung his bat at two minor leaguers nor caused their injuries during a scuffle that broke out when he was hit by a pitch during a 2007 comeback attempt.

Offerman took the stand in a civil assault and injury trial in federal court in Bridgeport. He is being sued by a former member of the Bridgeport Bluefish who claims Offerman injured him when the two-time All Star charged the mound with his bat while playing for the Long Island Ducks.

According to the lawsuit, Offerman was hit by a pitch, charged the mound and hit catcher Jonathan Nathans and pitcher Matt Beech. Nathans suffered a head injury that ended his baseball career and Beech broke the middle finger on his non-throwing hand.

Nathans, now an attorney in Portland, Maine, is suing Offerman and the Ducks for $4.8 million. He said he continues to cope with inner ear problems including nausea and dizziness that were caused when he was struck by the bat. The Ducks also deny any responsibility.

Offerman, 45, who lives in his native Dominican Republic, was charged criminally with felony assault after the game. He was granted a probation program that resulted in the charges being dismissed. The trial is expected to continue at least until Wednesday, said Offerman's lawyer, Frank Riccio II.

Offerman has been working for the Licey Tigers, a winter league team he managed before throwing a punch at an umpire during a 2010 on-field argument. Offerman was banned from the Dominican winter league after the 2010 incident, but the ruling was overturned in 2012 after he got psychological treatment.

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