A 25-year-old Port Richey man has filed a complaint with the St. Petersburg Police Department, saying he was struck by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher J.C. Romero after Thursday night's game at Tropicana Field, according to St. Petersburg police.
Robert Eaton was at ground level, standing near third base, and was apparently trying to get autographs when Romero walked by, St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa said.
Romero initially ignored Eaton when Eaton called out something to Romero that contained an expletive, Kajtsa said. Romero then turned around, the two exchanged words and Romero struck Eaton with an open hand, Kajtsa said.
Eaton refused treatment and did not have any visible injuries, Kajtsa said.
There were no witnesses to the incident, and Romero had already left when officers responded to Eaton's complaint.
The case was referred to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office to see whether prosecutors would charge Romero with battery, Kajtsa said.
The Phillies confirmed Saturday that one of their players was involved in a confrontation with a fan following Thursday's game. The Phillies did not identify the player in their statement. The Rays also confirmed the incident but did not release details.
"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 the 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."
Romero, 33, a left-handed relief pitcher, returned June 4 to the Phillies' roster after serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. He has sued the manufacturer of a product, arguing it was responsible for the suspension.