The Phillies have acknowledged they are aware of an incident with a fan involving lefthander J.C. Romero after their loss to the Rays Thursday night, but say are they are still in the process of gathering information. Robert Eaton, a 25-year-old resident of New Port Richey, Fla., filed a police report alleging that Romero assaulted him soon after the game, the St. Petersburg Times reported earlier today.
Eaton told the Times that Romero responded angrily to a comment Eaton made about steroids. He alleges that Romero "grabbed him by the neck" and "pushed him" after Eaton asked the reliever, who was suspended 50 games earlier this season for a positive drug test, "for some juice."
Romero initially declined to address the situation. When asked by a reporter if he wanted to hear Eaton's claims, Romero responded:
"What'd he say? That he was drunk and got into a fight?. . .I'm not going to comment about it. I'm trying to be professional and I don't really want to get into that. Don't make a story out of nothing."
Asked when he found out about the fan's complaint, Romero answered: "I don't know what's going on. I'm just finding out through you guys."
Romero did not appear in the Phillies' 10-0 win over the Blue Jays, which featured a complete game from lefthander J.A. Happ.
"We're disappointed to learn about the alleged incident with a Rays fan and one of our players following Thursday night's game at Tropicana Field," the Phillies said in a statement. "We are in the process of gathering all of the details surrounding the situation. Until such information is provided, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time."
In January, Romero was suspended for 50 games for a positive drug test, which he maintains came as the result of use of an over-the-counter supplement. A lawsuit against supplement manufacturer ErgoPharm and two retail stores is pending.
A police dispatcher confirmed to the Times that a report was filed from Tropicana Field around 11 p.m. Thursday night. Romero did not appear in the game.
On Friday night, the Rays released this statement to the Times:
"We are aware of an alleged incident between a Phillies player and a fan. At this point it is a police matter and for that reason we won't have any further comment."
Eaton told the times that he was attempting to get autographs after the game. After Romero ignored his request, Eaton shouted a remark about steroids.
Eaton alleges that Romero told him to "shut the f--- up," the Times reported.
"He reared back and kinda grazed my chin and grabbed me by the neck and threw me back," Eaton said, according to the Times. "I was in shock."
Messages left for Eaton by the Daily News were not immediately returned.