CLEVELAND (CBS/AP) — The Texas Rangers say they’re investigating a claim by pitcher Tanner Scheppers that he was attacked in downtown Cleveland last week.
Scheppers said he was “sucker-punched by several young males” while going out to dinner a few blocks from the team’s hotel Thursday night. He sustained facial cuts and bruises, and said his attackers ran away.
Cleveland-based entertainment website Scene reported Sunday that Scheppers verbally instigated the incident — which apparently happened overnight at a bar, and not around dinnertime. The website cited a witness without giving the person’s name.
“He lost a bar fight. He had 10 chances to walk away before this happened,” the witness told the website.
The Cleveland Police Department confirmed Sunday that Scheppers was involved in a physical altercation at Panini’s Bar at 2:30 a.m. Friday. The statement said Scheppers “refused to provide information and refused to make a police report.”
Scheppers pitched a scoreless inning in Sunday’s 6-0 loss to the Indians, his first work since the altercation.
Approached by reporters following the game, Scheppers tersely said, “I already told you guys everything. I don’t have any more to say about it. A lot of what’s out there is lies.”
The Rangers issued a statement that said they had been in contact with Cleveland police and the Indians.
“Until our investigation is complete, no one from the organization will have any further comment on this matter,” the team said.
Scheppers first addressed the incident before Saturday night’s game. The Rangers arrived in Cleveland on Thursday night following their afternoon game in Texas.
The 26-year-old Scheppers said he was knocked to the sidewalk, but never lost consciousness. He said he had a headache at the time but didn’t sustain a concussion.
Scheppers, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 200 pounds, said police were called but no report was filed. The team informed Major League Baseball security.
“They (the police) said it happens a lot, actually,” Scheppers said then. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The police statement Sunday said officers called for EMS help at the scene and Scheppers “refused medical attention.” Police said officers took Scheppers and another unidentified man back to the team hotel.
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