Mateo in court on assault charge
By Geoff Baker
Seattle Times staff reporter
NEW YORK — A night in jail is just the beginning of the troubles facing Mariners relief pitcher Julio Mateo.
The 29-year-old spent Saturday night in custody, then was formally arraigned in court on a third-degree assault charge Sunday afternoon in Manhattan Criminal Court. He was released on $3,000 bail and will have to reappear in court on June 15.
Mateo is charged with assaulting his wife, Aurea, in their hotel room in midtown Manhattan sometime before 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. Edison Alban, a spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, said Sunday that Mateo's wife received a black eye, five stitches on her lip from being bitten and was also choked by her attacker.
The maximum penalty for assault in the third degree, a Class A misdemeanor, is up to a year in jail. But some defendants don't serve any jail time, depending on their prior record and other factors.
"The sentencing guidelines all depend on the judge," Alban said.
The Mariners announced Sunday that they had suspended Mateo for 10 days without pay for missing Saturday's game in New York without permission. The team had already optioned Mateo to Class AAA Tacoma in order to clear roster room to add another pitcher.
Mateo was not at the hotel when police responded to a call early Saturday morning. But he spoke later that morning with Mariners manager Mike Hargrove.
"I know that I spoke with him yesterday morning on the phone," said Hargrove, who urged Mateo to contact the authorities.
Hargrove wouldn't say who initiated the phone conversation. Mateo spent most of Saturday arranging legal representation, hiring New York-based lawyer Jim Koenig before turning himself in to police at the NYPD's Midtown North precinct.
He was questioned and processed for several hours and later booked and fingerprinted. Police then transferred him to a holding cell at the Manhattan Criminal Court building until his 12:20 p.m. arraignment on Sunday.
The Mariners have referred all queries about the matter to Mateo's lawyer and his agent, Martin Arburua. Neither returned any telephone calls on Sunday.
Hargrove said he doesn't plan to talk to his players in a bid to keep Mateo's situation from becoming a clubhouse distraction.
"I think it's natural that guys are going to be concerned," Hargrove said. "We're going about our business. I don't know that there's any way you can address that. I mean, it is what it is. We'll just move on."