Clubhouse Fight Earns Colon Suspension

A scuffle over music volume in the Toledo clubhouse last week has triggered a seven game suspension for pitcher Ramon Colon and reconstructive facial surgery for pitcher Jason Karnuth.

"His face was crushed," Karnuth's Agent Mike Mosa told the Detroit Free Press. "It's devastating to sit there and have a plastic surgeon say that you need to have a titanium plate, with screws, placed in your face."

The altercation arose when Mud Hens starter Virgil Vasquez lowered the volume on Colon's iPod and Colon reproved the right-handed starter.

Coach-described "clubhouse leader" Kevin Hooper stepped in to diffuse the situation by telling Colon to relax.

Then, Jordan Tata intervened and a shoving match ensued between him and Colon. Karnuth, who tried to break up the altercation, was then said to have been punched by Colon.

Karnuth has been placed on the Mud Hens disabled list and will miss the remainder of the season.

A procedure is set for Monday to insert a metal plate and remove bone fragments from the 31-year-old's nostrils.

The injury is worse than everybody thought," Mosa said." His right eyeball is being held in place by his sinus cavity."

Jason's wife Rachel filed a report to the Toledo Police Department on Friday stating that Colon punched her husband.

But Colon, who was playing for Toledo on a rehab assignment from Detroit with shoulder soreness, vehemently denies striking his teammate.

"To be honest, I don't even know if I hit him or not. I swear to God. I saw the trainers the next day, and I have no scars on my fingers," Colon said during a phone interview with the Free Press Thursday night.

"I didn't even know he was hit," Colon said. "I was surprised. I just said, 'Jason, I'm sorry. I'm real, real sorry.' I called him the next morning. I apologized to him.

The Tigers organization however, disagrees because Colon, who suffered a shoulder contusion in the fracas, was recalled by Detroit placed on the disabled list and suspended for seven games. He was the only player of the five involved to be suspended.

Colon expressed displeasure with his punishment.

"I should not be the only one suspended," Colon said via telephone. "Why would I be suspended when they were calling me a (expletive) to my face?"

"When they called people into the office to ask what happened in the fight, there were no Latino people in there. So, I was alone," Colon said.

It remains uncertain whether he was "in the office" after the fight, but Mud Hens Interim Manager Miguel "Mike" Rojas is Cuban so it is unrealistic that race played a factor the decision to suspend Colon.

Rojas refused to comment on the issue, and neither the Tigers nor Mud Hens organization has made an official announcement regarding the incident. The Tigers merely stated Colon's induced shoulder injury was a result of a "physical altercation," as an explanation for his return to the 15-day disabled list.

On Thursday, Paul Kizner, Colon's agent told the Free Press he was unsure about where Colon may pitch once his suspension is complete but hinted that the Tigers organization wouldn't put him back in that situation. In 2005, Tigers pitcher Ugueth Urbina was immediately traded after starting a fight aboard the team plane.


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