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Thursday, May 17, 2007 - Page updated at 09:08 PM

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M's Notebook | Mateo issues apology, will begin counseling

Seattle Times staff reporter

NEW YORK — Suspended relief pitcher Julio Mateo on Monday apologized to his wife, family, teammates and the Mariners organization for his weekend arrest and assault charge.

Mateo is charged with beating up his wife, Aurea, in the team's Manhattan hotel early Saturday morning. The criminal complaint issued by the Manhattan district attorney's office states that Mateo "did punch her in the eye, choke her and bit her lip causing a large cut requiring at least five stitches to close the cut."

In a written statement put out by the Mariners on Monday night, Mateo said he is "personally embarrassed by the incident on Saturday morning, which resulted in my arrest and absence from my team."

"Without getting into detail," he later adds, "I understand that my behavior was inappropriate. I am very sorry for this, and I want to apologize to all of them.

Mariners five-game planner

Today | @ Detroit, 4:05 p.m., FSN | M's LHP Horacio Ramirez (2-1, 6.64) vs. RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-0, 3.69).

Wednesday | @ Detroit, 4:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Cha Seung Baek (0-0, 7.53) vs. LHP Nate Robertson (3-1, 2.48).

Thursday | @ Detroit, 10:05 a.m., no TV | M's RHP Jeff Weaver (0-5, 15.35) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (2-1, 2.75).

Friday | vs. N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's LHP Jarrod Washburn (2-3, 3.18) vs. RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-2, 3.98).

Saturday | vs. N.Y. Yankees, 7:05 p.m., Ch. 11 | M's RHP Miguel Batista (3-2, 5.70) vs. RHP Matt DeSalvo (0-0, 1.29).

"I cannot comment on what has been reported, since there is a criminal case pending. But I have pledged to the Mariners to begin personal counseling immediately to help address any issues that I may have. Beyond stating again my deepest regrets, I cannot comment further."

The Mariners issued statements of their own, with team president Chuck Armstrong saying: "The Seattle Mariners as an organization deplores domestic violence. There is simply no excuse for it. Over the years, we have endeavored to be in the forefront of efforts to confront and eradicate domestic violence."

Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi met with Mateo and team counselor Rafael Colon on Monday morning.

"I discussed with him how seriously the club takes these charges and how low our tolerance is relative to this alleged behavior," Bavasi said. "Julio is contrite and acknowledges he has personal issues for which he needs professional help, which he has requested.

"Along with the punishment we are levying against Julio, we feel it is our responsibility to respond to his request for help, provide that help and aid in returning an improved person to our community."

The Mariners have suspended Mateo for 10 days without pay and optioned him to Class AAA Tacoma. Mateo faces a maximum one year in jail on the third-degree assault charge, with a court appearance set for June 15.

M's shake up lineup

A floundering Mariners offense got shaken up before Monday's game when struggling No. 2 hitter Adrian Beltre, hitting .245 with a .310 on-base percentage, was bumped back to the No. 7 spot. Jose Vidro, leading the team with a .312 average was moved up to second in the order while Kenji Johjima took over the No. 3 spot, typically reserved for power and RBI men.

Johjima went 0 for 3 his first three at-bats, twice stranding runners in scoring position. But he notched a two-out single to right off Kyle Farnsworth to tie the score in the eighth inning.

The Japanese catcher shrugged when asked before the game about his added responsibilities.

"It's not like I'm going to be hitting left-handed," he said through an interpreter.

Johjima entered the game hitting .296 with a team-high .521 slugging percentage among regulars. He's noticed pitchers making minor adjustments to him his second year, but insists he can handle it.

"I'm sure they've studied me compared to last year," he said. "Even in Japan, when they realize you're good at hitting fastballs, they start throwing breaking balls to you. And when you start hitting the breaking ball, they start throwing more fastballs to you.

"That's something that actually existed in Japan. And I've been hitting around .300 my whole career. So, I guess it's something I feel. That they have been studying me. But it's not like I can't hit the breaking ball or anything."

Notes

• There were quick repercussions for the New York Yankees after Sunday's beanball war with the Mariners. Yankees relief pitcher Scott Proctor was suspended for four games for throwing at the head of Mariners hitter Yuniesky Betancourt while manager Joe Torre got a one-game suspension.

Torre sat out Monday night's game, but Proctor appealed his suspension. He did not make an appearance in the game.

• The Mariners helped temporarily end the major-league career of Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa. New York gave up a $26 million posting fee and $20 million in contract money for the left-hander, who has been a disaster and blew a five-run lead to Seattle on Friday night.

Igawa was optioned all the way down to Class A Tampa on Monday. He will work with a pair of special instructors before being allowed back into any games.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com. Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners

For the record

W-L PCT
14-13 .519

Streak: W1

Home: 8-6

Road: 6-7

vs. AL West: 7-5

vs. L.A.: 0-3

vs. Oakland: 4-1

vs. Texas: 3-1

vs. AL East: 3-4

vs. AL Central: 4-4

vs. NL: 0-0

vs. LHP: 4-2

vs. RHP: 10-11

Day: 6-5

Night: 8-8

One-run: 3-4

Extra innings: 0-0

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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Mariners: Schedule | Stats | Forum | Roster
AL West W L Pct. GB Div. Streak
y-LA Angels 100 62 .617 --- 36-21 Won 1
Texas 79 83 .488 21 30-27 Lost 1
Oakland 75 86 .466 24.5 26-31 Lost 5
Seattle 61 101 .377 39 22-35 Won 3

y - clinched division, x - clinched playoff berth

Wild card standings | AL standings | NL standings

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