K-Rod faces new charges

Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez violated a restraining order by sending dozens of text messages to his girlfriend in the weeks after he was accused of assaulting her father outside a family lounge at Citi Field in New York and will face additional charges, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Rodriguez appeared for a routine hearing in Queens Criminal Court on third-degree assault and harassment charges, and will face additional charges of criminal contempt for sending the messages. Judge Robert Raciti denied a request to send the right-hander to jail for sending the messages to girlfriend Daian Pena, the mother of their 1-year-old twins. He was arrested after a loss to Colorado on Aug. 11 – a game in which he didn’t pitch.

“I know this message will get me in trouble, but I already lost you, my house and my children,” he wrote, according to assistant district attorney Scott Kessler. “I do not want to have problems with your family, all I want … is to recover you and my children and continue forward.”

The 28-year-old Rodriguez was accused of grabbing 53-year-old Carlos Pena, hauling him into a tunnel near the family lounge beneath the team’s new ballpark and hitting him in the face. Pena was taken to a hospital with a scrape and swelling above his eyebrow, and Rodriguez was held by authorities.

2011 season features early start, end

The Major League Baseball schedule for 2011 features a midweek start in March, a midweek ending in September and the Chicago Cubs’ first visit to Fenway Park in nearly 100 years.

The new-look grid is designed to meet commissioner Bud Selig’s goal: to have the World Series over in October. Game 7 this year is set for Nov. 4.

Five openers are scheduled for Thursday, March 31, with games at Cincinnati, Washington, St. Louis, Kansas City and Yankee Stadium. One of them is expected to be moved up to the night of March 30.

The regular season is set to end on Wednesday, Sept. 28, with games such as Philadelphia-Atlanta, Colorado-San Francisco and Yankees-Tampa Bay. The last time a season finished on any day other than Sunday was 1990. This new way, the playoffs could begin in September.

The Chicago Cubs open interleague play on May 20 with a three-game series in Boston. The Cubs last played at Fenway Park in the 1918 World Series.

The Florida Marlins will open their final season at Sun Life Stadium on April 1 against the New York Mets. The Marlins move into a new ballpark in 2012.

The Mariners will open the season on the road April 1 against Oakland, before playing their first home game April 8 against the Cleveland Indians.

St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols was held out of the Cardinals’ lineup against Chicago due to tendinitis in his left elbow. … Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher underwent an MRI in St. Petersburg, Fla., that showed inflammation, but no structural problems on his injured left knee. He received a cortisone shot and will likely be out of the starting lineup until this weekend. … Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler will appeal his one-game suspension, imposed for taking part in an on-field celebration after being ejected last Friday against the Yankees. Kinsler also was fined an undisclosed amount.


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