Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez will be arraigned Thursday morning on third-degree assault charges after an altercation with his father-in-law at Citi Field on Wednesday.
Rodriguez was in custody overnight after the altercation, which occurred after the Mets’ 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies. His father-in-law, whose name was not disclosed, was taken to an area hospital with a bump on his head and an abrasion to his face.
The police provided no clues Thursday about what might have spurred the conflict. They said they were summoned to Citi Field shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday and found a 53-year-old man with bruises to the head who said he had been “punched to the face” by Mr. Rodriguez.
Police took Mr. Rodriguez into custody, and his father in law was taken to Flushing Hospital Medical Center in Queens, where he was treated and released, police said.
Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ vice president for media relations, said: “There was an incident at the ballpark between Francisco Rodriguez and his family. He was questioned by police. All other questions should be directed to the police.”
A uniformed police officer walked into the clubhouse shortly after Rodriguez walked out of it through a pair of double doors. Numerous security guards lingered in and around the clubhouse hours after the final pitch.
Before the altercation was disclosed, Rodriguez reacted angrily when approached by reporters after the game — a tough loss for a reeling team — using obscenities as he told them that he did not play and therefore did not want to speak to them.
With the Mets ahead, 2-1, with two outs in the eighth inning, Manager Jerry Manuel did not bring in Rodriguez to get the final four outs of the game. It was not known whether that decision played any role in the conflict. Manuel said he did not call on Rodriguez because he pitched Tuesday.
Rodriguez has shown a hot-tempered side, but the Mets have relied heavily on him this season. He has been something of a high-wire act on the mound, often getting himself into trouble and then bailing himself out. He has converted 25 of 30 save opportunities and has pitched very well recently.
The arrest could hasten Rodriguez’s exit from the Mets. He was involved in a shoving match with the bullpen coach Randy Niemann earlier this season, and his volatility had made the Mets wary of their long-term commitment to him. Rodriguez has a $17.5 million option on his contract for 2012, and the Mets owner Fred Wilpon has shown a willingness to sever ties with players who have gotten into trouble.
The arrest coincides with a season that seems to be imploding. After an unexpectedly promising start, the Mets have gone 8-18 since the All-Star break and have fallen below .500. On Wednesday night, the Mets endured another tough-to-take defeat.
A day after Hisanori Takahashi appeared to secure the setup role, he failed to get through the eighth inning. Then Manuel inserted Manny Acosta to get the final out of the eighth, but the decision backfired.
After getting two outs, Takahashi allowed a single and a walk before being removed. Rodriguez has been used frequently this season, and he has pitched more than one inning eight times.
After Acosta intentionally walked Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases, Melvin Mora blasted a grand slam to left field to highlight a five-run inning that gave the Rockies the victory.
The dismal effort by the bullpen ruined another solid outing by starter Jon Niese, who allowed one run and five hits over seven innings.
Niese showed a sharp fastball and worked quickly. He had five strikeouts in the first four innings, and he kept his pitches low in the strike zone; the Rockies’ batters often grounded out when they made contact. In the seventh, Niese allowed two singles to start the inning, and the result was a sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta that scored Tulowitzki.
On Tuesday, Takahashi pitched a perfect eighth inning in relief, and he seemed to have earned the setup role. But Manuel backed away from that.
“We’ve yet to solve that, to be honest with you,” Manuel said. “We’re tying to mix and match and it just hasn’t worked out for us.”
After the game, the focus temporarily shifted to the Mets’ questions about a setup man who looked secure only hours earlier, and a manager who was booed after a curious decision in another loss that sent the team below the .500 mark.
But in light of the revelation about Rodriguez, there now appears to be a more troubling uncertainty.